Posts Tagged ‘The National Gateway’

CSX Closes Pittsburgh Intermodal Terminal

May 6, 2020

Less than three years after it opened, CSX has closed an intermodal terminal in Pittsburgh.

The terminal, which cost $60 million and was located in a former Pittsburgh & Lake Erie yard in McKees Rocks, was part of the National Gateway Initiative that a previous management of CSX launched in 2008.

The Pittsburgh terminal, which opened in September 2017, was the last component of the National Gateway to be completed.

The $850 million public-private project also included construction of an intermodal terminal at North Baltimore, Ohio.

At the time that these terminals were built, CSX was using a hub and spoke strategy to build intermodal traffic.

That strategy was dropped several months after the late E. Hunter Harrison became CEO of CSX in March 2017. Instead CSX began favoring intermodal service lanes with the highest volume and profit.

An analysis published on the website of Trains magazine suggested that the 70-acre Pittsburgh intermodal facility was doomed by the decision of CSX to end steel wheel transfer in Chicago of intermodal containers and trailers received from western railroads.

Instead those containers and trailers are moved across Chicago by highway.

Trains quoted intermodal consultant Larry Gross as saying this effectively made traffic coming into Pittsburgh from the West a 460-mile haul for CSX, which the carrier might not have seen as being profitable enough.

Gross noted Pittsburgh is a relatively short haul for CSX intermodal traffic and that worked against it.

He also said the CSX network was not well suited for diverting north-south highway traffic through Pittsburgh onto rails.

CSX has leased the site of the Pittsburgh intermodal terminal to Shell Oil Company, which will use it as a storage-in-transit facility for a new petrochemicals complex it is building 30 miles northwest of Pittsburgh in Potter Township that will produce 1.6 million tons of polyethylene annually.

However, CSX stands to benefit because the haulage of plastic pellets is more profitable than intermodal traffic.

CSX said it can handle intermodal traffic to Pittsburgh through other existing terminals.

CSX Expects to Begin Using Englarged Virginia Avenue Tunnel in Washington by Late This Year

July 23, 2016

Trains magazine is reporting that the Virginia Avenue Tunnel being enlarged by CSX will be ready to handle double-stacked container trains later this year.

CSX logo 1Completion of one phase of that project will mark a major milestone in the development of the railroad’s National Gateway program.

Work on enlarging the tunnel began in May 2015. The tunnel enlargement drew some opposition in Washington and CSX said it has made more than 51,000 contacts with people living over the tunnel to explain the project.

That included public meetings, social media interactions and email newletters. CSX also established an office near the tunnel’s west portal.

The project involves creating a new tunnel and then replacing the existing tunnel, which was constructed by the Pennsylvania Railroad in 1872.

Trains reported that CSX is using a cut-and-cover approach to building the tunnels, which involves digging a new trench adjacent to the existing bore and then placing a concrete cover over it.

Disruptions to the neighborhood are being minimized by drilling pilings to support the walls of both new tunnels.

CSX has set up a website to provide information and updates on the project at

Completion of the tunnel will mean that double-stacked container trains can travel between the Northwest Ohio Intermodal facility in North Baltimore to the Southeast.

Presumably, that traffic will move over the New Castle Subdivision via Akron.

CSX is also constructing a new intermodal terminal near Pittsburgh that also is expected to send traffic over the New Castle Sub.

Judge Gives CSX OK to Build Washington Tunnel

April 20, 2015

A federal judge last week dismissed a bid to halt CSX from building a new tunnel in Washington, D.C., that would be a key link in the railroad’s National Gateway network.

Judge Christopher R. Cooper ruled that removing and replacing the existing 111-year-old tunnel beneath Virginia Avenue SE in Southeast Washington is in the best interest of the public.

Cooper’s ruling came in response to a request for a preliminary injunction that was sought by the Committee of 100 on the Federal City.

“The Committee’s contentions that a new tunnel will lead to more accidents and a greater risk of terrorist attack are speculative at best. And with the exception of the removal of some 200 trees, the Committee has not established that any environmental effects of the construction activity will be severe or irreparable,” Cooper ruled.

The Committee of 100 sought to stop the project until a court can rule on a pending lawsuit that it filed that challenges the Federal Highway Administration’s decision to OK the tunnel reconstruction plans. That lawsuit challenged the legality and transparency of the project’s federal environmental review process.­

CSX in February began site preparation work on the $170 million project to rebuild the 3,800-foot tunnel after it received federal clearance to proceed with the reconstruction and expansion project.

The tunnel extends beneath Virginia Avenue SE from Second to 11th streets. CSX plans to build twin tunnels that will accommodate double stack container trains.

Opponents of the project have raised concerns about the transportation of hazardous materials through the tunnel and also fear that the construction will create noise, dust and vibration that will disrupt the peace of neighborhood.

Get Ready for Double Stacks in Akron on CSX

September 7, 2013

Have you seen a double-stack intermodal train passing through Akron yet? If not you will because CSX announced that it has completed the first phase of its National Gateway project.

The railroad said the work was completed on time and on budget.

CSX will offer double-stack container service between an intermodal terminal in Chambersburg, Pa., and its facility in North Baltimore, Ohio.

Most of the work occurred on the Baltimore & Ohio main line, including major projects on the famed Sand Patch grade in Pennsylvania and Magnolia Cutoff in West Virginia and Maryland.

In Ohio, tracks were lowered and new bridges built in or near Ravenna, Kent, Akron and Lodi, to name a few, the New Castle Subdivision.

The National Gateway is a $850 million public-private partnership to create an intermodal corridor between the Mid-Atlantic and Midwest. Funding has come through a combination of federal and state funds, and railroad investment.

Some public funding came from the federal TIGER grant program, secured by the state of Ohio, and administered by the Eastern Federal Lands Highway Division of the Federal Highway Administration. The second phase of the project will involve increasing clearances so that stack trains can operate to the Ports of Baltimore and Virginia.

CSX said its Northwest Ohio Intermodal Terminal in North Baltimore employs nearly 300 full-time employees handles hundreds of thousands of containers per year in-transit to and from the lower Great Lakes region.

CSX Lowering Track 1 in Kent

June 26, 2012

CSX train Q359 is about to pass beneath the Main Street bridge on Track No. 2 on June 22, 2012. Track No. 2 was lowered beneath the bridge earlier this year.

Workers began the process of lowering Track No. 1 in Kent last week. As was the case when the same work was done on Track No. 2, crews from R.J. Corman removed sections of Track No. 1 and placed then aside.

Other crews began digging out the ballast in preparation for chipping away the underlying bedrock and soil structure. The work is part of a larger project to lower the former Baltimore & Ohio mainline through Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Maryland so that it can accomodate double-stacked container trains.

CSX in early 2011 opened a container sorting facility at North Baltimore, Ohio. The clearance projects in Ohio are part of the development of the railroad’s National Gateway project.

Other work to lower the tracks is currently progressing in downtown Akron and in Medina County where the old one-lane bridge carrying River Corners Road over the former B&O will be removed and replaced.

The River Corners Road project involves realigning the intersection of River Corners and Simcox roads, and the removal of the Pawnee Road bridge over the tracks. Pawnee Road will be permanently closed at the railroad tracks. During the construction work, US 224 will be closed and a detour posted from June 25 until mid November.

Photographs by Craig Sanders

The power for D750 passes eastbound through Kent on June 22. Note that Track No. 1 has been temporarily removed as workers lower the roadbed through town.