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Friday, August 28, 2009

Alabama Port Authority wants rail link

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Alabama State Port Authority officials plan to meet this week with Norfolk Southern senior executives to discuss linking the railroad's proposed $112-million intermodal facility in McCalla, Ala., to the newly opened $300 million container terminal in Mobile, according to the Birmingham Business Journal.

Currently, freight containers received at the Mobile Container Terminal are transported to Birmingham by truck up Interstate 65, said Port Director Jimmy Lyons. But if a deal can be struck, containers would move into the proposed McCalla facility on an existing Norfolk Southern rail line that originates at the state's port.

Lyons said a deal with the railroad could jumpstart a proposed intermodal rail facility at the Mobile terminal, which could be completed in two to four years, depending on funding, and guide growth toward its planned expansion on Mobile Bay.

Norfolk Southern spokesman Rudy Husband said he couldn't comment on potential discussions, but as a general rule the company doesn't turn down business.