US-based Norfolk Southern (NS) has opened a new locomotive maintenance and repair facility in Chicago, intended to improve operational efficiency of trains that move through the country’s largest rail hub.

The $9.5m investment in the 16,300ft² site at the railroad’s 47th Street intermodal facility is set to expand NS’s locomotive regional repair capabilities.

NS mechanical vice-president Don Graab said: “The new facility is strategically located on Norfolk Southern’s primary rail line serving Chicago, and it will allow NS to rapidly make repairs to locomotives moving freight to our major terminals.

“The investment is part of NS’s commitment to provide timely and reliable service and will enable us to move goods even more efficiently across the Chicago gateway and benefit intermodal customers shipping freight to East Coast markets.”

"It will allow NS to rapidly make repairs to locomotives moving freight to major terminals."

The facility is equipped with a 125t drop table to inspect, repair, or replace locomotive traction motors, as well as a mobile, 7.5t overhead gantry crane to hoist heavy engine components. It also houses a 77ft-long inspection pit to perform repairs to the underside of locomotives, allowing four to be worked on indoors simultaneously.

Norfolk Southern also operates a locomotive workshop for minor repairs at its Calumet Yard intermodal facility in Chicago where mobile rapid-response crews inspect and service outbound locomotives.

A total of six rail yards are operated by NS in the city, moving more than 100 trains daily to connect Chicago and Illinois businesses to markets throughout the country and worldwide.

In Illinois, it operates a network of spanning 1,256 miles.