The Heartland Corridor, times are a changin'

nw-mailing-list at nw-mailing-list at
Fri Jul 7 17:20:58 EDT 2006

Looks like all those classic tunnel portals are in danger.

The following story by Gregory Richards appeared on The Virginian-
Pilot website on June 30.

NORFOLK, Va. - Norfolk Southern Corp. plans to build its new
southwestern Virginia intermodal terminal in the rural Montgomery
County village of Elliston, county officials announced this week.

The $18 million shipping yard will be where truck-size cargo
containers heading to and from the port of Hampton Roads are
transferred between trains and trucks. It is part of the $251
million Heartland Corridor project to allow trains stacked two-high
with containers to travel a more direct route between the port and

The site, just off Interstate 81, consists of roughly 50 acres,
according to a county news release.

That is the only location still being looked at for the terminal,
said Robin Chapman, spokesman for the Norfolk-based railroad.

The company previously had said only that the terminal would be near
Roanoke, where the railroad's main east-west and north-south
corridors cross.

The railroad is in discussions with property owners to acquire those
tracts, Chapman said Thursday. He added that he didn't believe any
of the parcels had already been purchased.

"It's all still very preliminary," he said.

Norfolk Southern isn't breaking out how much the land might cost,
but Chapman said the terminal's $18 million price tag includes both
construction of the facility and buying the property. Seventy
percent of the cost is being paid by the state, with the railroad
paying the remainder.

The state agreed in May to help pay for the terminal because it will
improve access to international markets for businesses in western
Virginia and reduce highway congestion, particularly on the already
busy I- 81.

The terminal is scheduled to open by 2010, Chapman said.

Montgomery County is "extremely pleased" to be selected for the
project, Steve L. Spradlin, chairman of county's Board of
Supervisors, said in the release.

Most of the property being looked at is farmland, with some
scattered homes, said county spokesman Robert Parker.

The Heartland Corridor also includes building intermodal terminals
in Prichard , W.Va., and Columbus, Ohio, as well as raising the
ceilings of 28 railroad tunnels to permit the passage of the taller
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