Friday, February 19, 2010

Heartland Corridor on target for summer opening

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The Heartland Corridor double-stack rail project is on schedule to be completed by summer 2010 said a Norfolk Southern marketing representative speaking at the February lunch meeting of the Hampton Roads Foreign Commerce Club according to the Port of Virginia Website

"We are on track to have the work completed in July and we should see trains and cargo moving by August," said Chris Luebbers, group manager for international marketing. "This project is going to bring a lot of benefit to our company, this port and our customers."

The project's status, as of Jan. 30, is as follows:

-- 23 of 28 (82%) tunnels completed.

-- 22 of 25 (88%) other obstructions cleared.

-- 20,924 of 28,843 linear feet (73%) of tunnel length completed.

When finished, the $290-million Heartland Corridor will be a direct double-stack rail route that links The Port of Virginia with the Rickenbacker Global Logistics Park in Columbus, Ohio, and Chicago.

The biggest part of the development of the Heartland Corridor involves creating vertical clearance in existing tunnels so that double-stack trains can safely transit.

Norfolk Southern on Wednesday also received a boost to its continued development of the Crescent Corridor. The railroad was awarded $105 million from the federal government for improvements to the 2,500-mile-long rail network.

The Crescent Corridor passes through 13 states from Louisiana to New Jersey that touches 26 percent of the nation's population and 30 percent of the nation's manufacturing output.

Last September, Pennsylvania, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Virginia, submitted an application to USDOT for a $300 million TIGER grant to help improve Norfolk Southern's rail lines and facilities between the Gulf Coast and the Northeast. All the improvements to the Crescent Corridor are scheduled for completion in 2020.

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