Norfolk Southern (NS) has begun a $160m expansion of its railroad freight classification yard in Bellevue, Northern Ohio, US, to double the yard’s capacity in response to a rising demand for freight rail transportation.
Norfolk Southern chief operating officer Mark Manion said Bellevue is already an important terminal for the classification and movement of freight, and this investment will expand and modernise Bellevue, contributing to the fluid movement of long-distance freight across the company’s rail system.
"This project will help us improve asset utilisation and efficiency, enhance customer service, strengthen our entire 22-state system and further confirm Ohio’s importance to freight rail transportation," Manion added.
Scheduled to be completed in 2015, the expansion will add 38 classification tracks, bringing the Bellevue Yard’s total to 80 tracks.
A new 38.5 mile rail track will be built to enable the company to double the yard’s daily sorting capacity, from about 1,800 freight cars to 3,600.
The project also includes 145 miles of underground cable for communication and signal systems, 140 new automated switches to direct train traffic to the proper tracks and 11 upgraded control point signals, for better train access to the Bellevue facility.
Cargo-laden rail cars are sorted from arriving trains to assemble new outbound trains at Bellevue, which is one of 12 NS classification facilities.
Bellevue has been a railroading centre since the late 19th century, when NS’s Nickel Plate Road built its mainline through town.
The company said between 100 and 110 trains, which mostly carry vehicles, vehicle parts, agricultural products and consumer products, originate, terminate or pass through Bellevue every day.
NS’s subsidiary operates about 20,000 route miles in 22 states and the District of Columbia, serves every major container port in the eastern US and provides connections to other rail carriers.
It also operates the intermodal network in the east and is a transporter of coal and industrial products.