Norfolk Southern holds groundbreaking for Antrim terminal

PAT FRIDGEN
Groundbreaking for the Franklin County Regional Intermodal Facility took place on a farm located on the future terminal site. With a Norfolk Southern train in the background, officials broke ground Oct. 19 on Milnor Road before a crowd of 90. Pictured from left are: State Senator Richard Alloway II, U.S. Congressman Bill Shuster, Norfolk Southern chairman and CEO Wick Moorman, Gov. Edward G. Rendell, Deputy Director of the Federal Rail Commission Karen Rae, and Franklin County Area Development Corporation president L. Michael Ross.

With a perfectly timed train stopped on the track across a green field, Norfolk Southern and elected officials chorused the end of the planning process and the beginning of the construction project for the rail company’s Franklin County Regional Intermodal Facility on Oct. 19.

Under a tent at 845 Milnor Road, 90 people gathered to attend to the formalities of a groundbreaking ceremony. The 2:30 p.m. program was delayed 20 minutes until Governor Edward G. Rendell arrived.

Emcee Mike Ross, president of the Franklin County Area Development Corporation, began the accolades. He thanked the Antrim Township administrator and supervisors, and Greencastle borough council for working with Norfolk Southern to bring the project to fruition.

“None of this happens in a vacuum,” he said. “Everything happens by working together.”

Wick Moorman, CEO of Norfolk Southern, said the event was the first of four groundbreakings for the rail line along the Crescent Corridor, with Memphis, Birmingham and Charlotte also on tap. Facilities in Harrisburg and Philadelphia were also being improved.

The benefit to Pennsylvania was 26,000 jobs in the long term, he said, with 5,568 in Franklin County by 2030.

Rendell was pleased he and the state legislature were able to cooperate in contributing $45 million to the effort. The $95 million public-private partnership would boost Pennsylvania’s economy, already one of the healthiest in the country.

Norfolk Southern had pumped $3.8 billion into the state over the past decade, he said. The terminal would take 806,000 trucks off the roads and reduce traffic congestion to result in $33 million in savings annually.

Karen Rae from the Federal Railroad Administration said the growing U.S. population demanded more economical ways to haul freight, since 40 tons of goods per person per year were transported.

“Rail is a huge part of meeting that need,” she said.

Congressman Bill Shuster echoed the sentiments. “This is a great success story. It is absolutely critical to build infrastructure, which goes as far back as President Thomas Jefferson building canals. Transportation is the only thing the government does that affects our lives every day.”

State senator Richard Alloway concluded the program, stating he crossed party lines to get things done relevant to the intermodal facility, and fought for Norfolk Southern in the budget process.

The intermodal facility will be used to load and unload containers and trailers between trucks and trains, with long hauls along the Crescent Corridor, a 2,500 mile rail route from New Jersey to Louisiana. The trucks will access the terminal from Exit 3, due for an upgrade with federal funds distributed through Atapco, whose business park is adjacent to the Norfolk Southern property.