Posts Tagged ‘Louisville Kentucky’

NS to Reopen Louisville Intermodal Terminal

September 30, 2021

Norfolk Southern has done an about face and plans to reopen a Louisville, Kentucky, intermodal terminal that it closed in early summer.

In a service advisory, NS said the Louisville terminal will handle international containers from Virginia ports.

The advisory also attributed the reopening to strong growth in the Louisville intermodal market.

The terminal closed after NS shifted traffic to its Appliance Park intermodal facility in Louisville.

The reopening will occur on Oct. 4 with the terminal handling inbound traffic from Norfolk International Terminals and the Virginia International Gateway in Portsmouth.

NS said the Port of Virginia has been handling record container volume for the past year.

NS Combining Louisville Terminals

June 21, 2021

Norfolk Southern said last week it is revamping operations of its intermodal terminals in Louisville, Kentucky.

The changes include consolidation of two terminals into a single facility at Appliance Park located southeast of downtown.

Effective July 5, all intermodal traffic traffic arriving in Louisville on NS will go to Appliance Park and the Louisville Buechel terminal will be closed to inbound shipments.

On Aug. 2, traffic destined for Norfolk, Virginia, will all depart from Appliance Park. Traffic bound for Portsmouth, Virginia, will begin all departing from Appliance Park as of Aug. 16.

In another change, NS said the Appliance Park facility is now open on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Previously, neither Louisville facility had been open on Saturdays.

Memories of the Illinois Central

December 17, 2020

It may be the Illinois Central Gulf era but you would not know that just by looking around in the engine facility in Louisville, Kentucky, on Aug. 23, 1972. In fairness, though, the ICG era had only begun 13 days earlier when the Illinois Central and Gulf, Mobile & Ohio merged to form the ICG.

So it is not surprising that all of the locomotives here still are lettered ICRR. However, some of them have still not received IC’s orange and white, and still carry the green diamond herald.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

NS Reinstates Carman Fired for Saving Kitten in Tank Car

November 5, 2019

A Norfolk Southern carman in Louisville, Kentucky, has his job back after being fired for rescuing a kitten from a tank car.

Chris Small was initially terminated pending an investigation, but the company decided that what he had done did not merit dismissal.

The Class 1 carrier even agreed to make a donation of $10,000 to an animal welfare agency in the Louisville area.

Small told a Love Meow, a website for cat lovers, that he was at work when he heard a kitten crying from inside the car and could see its face from the outside through a cut in the seal.

He told his supervisor about it, but the supervisor responded that Small should leave the cat where it was and it would crawl out on its own.

Small had asked that the tank car be put into a shop so the kitten could be rescued.

Thinking it unlikely the cat would be able to get out on its own, Small used a pair of trash tongs to remove debris from the car and reached in with his hand to pull the kitten to safety.

He told the website that he told the kitten that if it was still crying when he finished his shift he would go back and rescue it.

“The office (of local animal control services) had closed at 7 p.m. and no one was available. I wasn’t going to leave a helpless animal to die,” Small told the website.

Small said the kitten was still crying when he finished work so he ascertained that the train with the tank car wasn’t going to move soon.

“I reached in the crack one more time and managed to grab the kitten,” Small said. He dried the kitten off and placed her in a pocket of his coveralls.

“She promptly fell asleep, was warm for the first time in who knows how long,” Small said. “I went back to the shop, and my boss said, ‘Congratulations, you have a cat but you probably don’t have a job.’ ”

Small said the next day he received a phone call informing him he had been terminated pending an investigation and if he came onto railroad property he would arrested for trespassing.

The story then made it onto Facebook where NS was raked over the coals by animal lovers.

In response, NS wrote that it doesn’t comment on ongoing investigations involving employees covered by collective bargaining agreements.

However, it said that Small had not yet been terminated.

NS subsequently issued a statement saying that after reviewing the facts of the case management had decided Small’s actions did not warrant dismissal. He has since returned to work.

“We recognize the concerns raised and to underscore our long-standing commitment to the safety and well-being of animals, Norfolk Southern will be making a donation in the amount of $10,000 to an animal welfare organization in the Louisville area.,” the statements said.

Small said he named the kitten Promise after the promise he made to it that he would come check on it when he finished work.

Promise has had her first vet visit and was given a clean bill of health. She was estimated to be two weeks old.

However, Small said that her litter mates who were in the tank car with Promise did not survive.

Ford Idles Assembly Plants in Michigan, Kentucky

October 27, 2016

Five assembly plants operated by Ford Motor Company will be idled this month, affecting traffic of Norfolk Southern, CSX and Kansas City Southern.

train image2One of the plants is located in Louisville, Kentucky, and is served by CSX. The other plants are located in Michigan; Claycomo, Missouri, (near Kansas City); and in Mexico.

Ford said that due to falling sales it was pausing production at plants that build the F-150 pickup, Escape and Lincoln MKC sport utility vehicles, and the Fusion and Fiesta cars.
The Louisville plant builds the Escape and was shut down this week.

Last week Ford temporary closed its Mustang assembly line at its Flat Rock, Michigan, plant. CN serves that facility while NS handles Ford traffic from its nearby Melvindale auto loading ramp.

Louisville, Southern Indiana Trail Advocates Want to Use K&I Bridge, But NS Just Keeps Saying ‘No’

February 5, 2016

A Louisville, Kentucky, group is making another push to prod Norfolk Southern into opening the K&I Bridge to hikers and bikers.

Greater Louisville, Inc., wants the bridge to serve as a link in a 100-mile loop trail around the Louisville metropolitan area.

The bridge would connect the Kentucky and Indiana shores of the Ohio River as part of a 13-mile trail that is part of that loop.

NS logo 2But despite more a decade of lobbying by public officials on both sides of the river, NS has refused to allow the K&I bridge to be used as part of a trail.

The bridge spans the river between New Albany, Indiana; and the Portland neighborhood of Louisville.

At one time, it was used by the Monon, Baltimore & Ohio, and the Southern. Formally known as the Kentucky and Indiana Terminal Bridge, it opened in 1912 .

Until 1979 the bridge also was used for vehicular traffic. It was used for interurban railway traffic until 1946. The bridge still has a lane used by railroad motor vehicles.

GLI said it will seek to “identify impediments, incentives and other remedies to permit pedestrians back on the K&I bridge, allowing full completion of a pedestrian loop.”

Louisville officials have noted that the Big Four Bridge, which is no longer used for railroad traffic, has been converted to pedestrian use.

The K&I Bridge would connect the Kentuckiana River Trail in Louisville and the Ohio River Greenway in Clark and Floyd counties in Indiana.

But NS doesn’t want to see pedestrians on the K&I Bridge. “Norfolk Southern’s K& I Bridge exists today for a single purpose — to provide safe transport for freight trains over the Ohio River,” NS spokesman David Pidgeon said in a statement. “NS generally does not support recreational trails next to active rail lines because of serious safety concerns, and we remain focused on providing safe, efficient and reliable freight transportation to our customers in Louisville and southern Indiana.”

Pidgeon noted that some trains using the bridge carry hazmat shipments. “We not only have safety concerns about public access along active right-of-way but also serious, prohibitive concerns about security and liability.” he said.

Supporters of using the K&I bridge for pedestrian traffic counter that the laws of Kentucky and Indiana generally protect property owners if someone is injured while using a recreational trail.

After active lobbying of NS failed, some Louisville officials considered using eminent domain to acquire an easement on the portion of the bridge not being used.

Kentucky public officials even battled with NS in 2008 over whether the bridge could be condemned

Assistant Jefferson County Attorney William T. Warner argued in a letter that city law allowed that course of action.

But an NS attorney, Thomas W. Ambler, responded that federal law prohibits any condemnation.

In the meantime, trails continue to open in Louisville and Southern Indiana, including one in 2013 that goes across the Big Four Bridge.

That trail has attracted more than 2 million visitors and 100,000 bicycles.

Two more miles of the Greenway will be built in Indiana this year, including a section in New Albany that will end near the north portral to the K&I Bridge.

Trail advocates say that converting the K&I to pedestrian access would be less costly than was the case with the Big Four Bridge, which required elevated access ramps. The K&I Bridge is at street level.

Converting the K&I Bridge to pedestrian use is “not a priority” for One Southern Indiana, the chamber of commerce for Clark and Floyd counties. Nor is the group including that on its advocacy agenda.

Although Wendy Dant Chesser, the chamber’s president and CEO, would like to see a loop across the river completed, she said NS owns the bridge.

“We have to approach this as any public project that would want access to private property,” she said. “So it has to be done with respect and the interest of the owner in mind.”

The Rails-to-Trails Conservancy said that numerous trails exist next to active railroad routes. The number of such trails rose by 260 percent between 2000 and 2013.

Large railroads usually oppose trails next to their right of way, but some smaller railroads have been more receptive to the idea.

One example of a trail sharing a bridge with a railroad is the Harahan Bridge over the Mississippi River in Memphis, Tennessee, where a pedestrian trail will open later this year.

Bridge owner Union Pacific was initially opposed to allowing a trail on the bridge, but agreed after trail architects included a fence that can’t be climbed and which protects cyclists and walkers from any debris from passing trains.

NS also operates rail lines next to trails, including the Schuylkill River Trail between Philadelphia and Pottsville, Pennsylvania.

Robert Folwell, trails project manager for the Schuylkill River Greenway Association, said he’s is unaware of any safety concerns being raised by NS.

Folwell said the trail is about 20 feet from the NS tracks in some places and separated by a chain-link fence.

NS spokesman Pidgeon would not discuss safety issues pertaining to NS lines next to mixed-use trails nor would he comment on research by Rails-to-Trails that identified only one death in recent decades involving a person using a trail adjacent to railroad tracks.

The U.S. Department of Transportation did a study that found one case of a claim involving a rail-with-trail.

“The railroad was held harmless from any liability for the accident through the terms of its indemnification agreement,” the report says.

Pidgeon did say that through last October 11 people had been killed in Indiana, and 10 in Kentucky, while trespassing on railroad property in 2015.

Bill Hughes, a former NS employee who worked with grade crossing and trespassing matters while at the railroad, speculated that the NS opposition to sharing the K&I Bridge with a trail is rooted in its desire to avoid lawsuits involving people who are injured or killed while trespassing.

Hughes is familiar with the K&I Bridge proposal and believes the project could satisfy the railroad’s safety concerns if there is a fence, regular safety patrols and emergency telephones placed on the bridge.

“This is a doable project,” he said. “It was when I worked for them, and it still is.”