American Railroads

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Location: Middleburg (Jacksonville), Florida, United States

Published in Trains magazine, Railfan & Railroad, Passenger Train Journal

Friday, October 13, 2006

BNSF, CSX Create High-Volume Intermodal Corridor

BNSF Railway Co. and CSX Corporation’s rail transportation and intermodal companies today reported plans to create a high-volume rail corridor for reliable intermodal services on the lines connecting California, Atlanta and the rest of the fast-growing Southeast Region.

The planned service will initially include two intermodal trains each day between the West Coast and Southeast in each direction. Corridor volume on the line is expected to grow with the overall expansion of the West Coast to Southeast intermodal market.

To support the planned service, BNSF will expand capacity on its rail lines connecting Avard, Okla., Memphis, Tenn., and Birmingham, Ala. CSX will expand its rail line between Birmingham and Atlanta, as well as its intermodal terminal in Fairburn, Ga., near Atlanta.

The agreement also allows for continued interline rail service between Memphis and Florida, as well as improved connections with the Carolinas and other key Southeast destinations.

Clarence Gooden, executive vice president - sales and marketing of CSX Corp., said, “This agreement enables CSX to provide more seamless and reliable service to our intermodal customers… Import and domestic demands continue to rise.”

The new agreement replaces and expands on the terms of an earlier agreement signed in 2001 that would have expired in 2007. It is anticipated that the new service will begin in early 2007, with the initial capacity projects, consisting primarily of sidings and terminal expansion, to be completed by the end of that year. The agreement also allows for future capacity expansion along the corridor.

Snow in Buffalo disrupts Amtrak, CSX, NS

A snowstorm in the Buffalo area is causing some Amtrak cancellations and delays of up to four hours, Amtrak reported this morning.

Norfolk Southern reported similar woes in the greater Buffalo area.

Numerous commercial power failures in the area also affected railroad signals, crossing gates and switches.

The affected route is the Empire Corridor, from New York City to Albany. Train 283 terminated in Albany today with passengers accommodated on train 285, and train 286 was cancelled between Niagara Falls and Albany. The train operated between Albany and New York City.

Other passenger trains affected included Amtrak’s Lake Shore Limited between New York and Chicago, and the Maple Leaf, between New York and Toronto.

Amtrak stated it is “in communication with CSX,” which owns the tracks in the area, “to resume normal service as soon as possible.”

Norfolk Southern stated in a service alert, “Due to a heavy snow storm of 16-24 inches traffic in and out of Buffalo may incur delays of 24 to 48 hours.”

The carrier stated, “Personnel are working to open our routes and facilities.”

Some 250,000 homes were reported to be without power this morning and roadways are slowly being cleared.

Continuing resolution funds FTA programs

The new federal fiscal year began on October 1, but Congress has completed only two of the 11 Fiscal Year 2007 appropriations bills that fund federal programs. To continue funding for programs lacking a completed appropriations bill, which includes the federal transit program, the House and Senate approved a Continuing Resolution as part of the FY 2007 Defense Appropriations bill (H.R. 5631, P.L. 109-289) on September 29, and President Bush signed the bill the same day. Congress then adjourned for its pre-election recess, according to American Public Transportation Assn. On October 5.

The continuing resolution provides funds for the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) administrative expenses through November 17, but new transit funds will not be available until Congress passes the fiscal 2007 Transportation, Treasury, and Housing and Urban Development, the Judiciary, District of Columbia, and Independent Agencies Appropriations bill (H.R. 5576).

Under continuing resolutions passed in previous years, FTA has delayed the release of formula apportionments and other new grants until a final appropriations bill is passed. Apportionments and grants made in previous fiscal years should not be affected.

The House and Senate have scheduled a lame duck session that will begin the week of November 13. The post-election session, called a “lame duck” because it occurs before the newly elected Congress convenes next year, will focus on the completion of the Transportation Appropriations bill and other appropriations measures, but a plan to advance the spending bills has yet to be determined.

The House passed its version of the FY 2007 Transportation Appropriations bill in June, but the Senate has not acted on the bill approved in July by the Senate Appropriations Committee.

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