Governor and Norfolk Southern officials announce terminal for Greencastle

PAT FRIDGEN
Gov. Edward Rendell spoke during the announcement.

Seating for 100 was  provided in a huge tent on the grounds of Mason-Dixon Auto Auction Wednesday morning. Dignitaries and the public at large made their way inside, in anticipation of the visit by Gov. Edward Rendell, who with officials from Norfolk Southern Corp., was to announce plans for an intermodal terminal between Milnor Road and Exit 3.

People came for a number of reasons. Dean Crowe, Chambersburg, unemployed for 18 months, hoped to get a moment with the governor to ask for better assistance from Career Link personnel in his job search efforts. Paul Hoover, who rents a farm near others that have been bought out for the $95 million facility, hoped to learn the future of his livelihood.

Larry and Donna Shindle, their son Troy, and Mike Wentz came at the invitation of Atapco, developers of Antrim Commons Business Park at Exit 3. The families live on Hykes Road near the train tracks. Both have signed contracts with Atapco to sell their homes.

Donna Shindle said they would be out by September 2010. "That's the only house we have ever lived in as a couple," she said with some sadness. They have not decided where they will move. Wentz and his wife are building a house in Shadow Creek and expect to relocate early next year.

Dave Hann, assistant fire chief, and fellow members of the Rescue Hose Company, attended to see how the new facility would affect emergency services in Greencastle and Antrim.

The youngest member of the crowd, Loren Raymer, 9, said, "My parents are at work. I had to come with them." He pointed to his grandparents, Robert and Darlene Eberly. Robert Eberly is the mayor of Greencastle.

Outside, an area man, who only gave his first name as Stuart, stood at the entrance with a large poster of an aborted baby. He said he was protesting Rendell's position on abortion. A motorist stopped and yelled at him. "These people are trying to have a nice dinner," she said. "People don't want to see that before they eat."

Norfolk representatives Michael Fesen, Government Relations for Pennsylvania, and Ben Fennell, Division Superintendent of Transportation, welcomed guests who entered the tent on a special picturesque runner. "That's the only time we invite people to walk on train tracks," quipped Fesen.

People mingled and ate a meal provided by Antrim House Restaurant as they waited for Rendell.

The announcement

Rendell arrived by car accompanied by several Pennsylvania State Patrol troopers in dress suits, who provided security during his half hour stay.

Wick Moorman, Norfolk Southern Chief Executive Officer, welcomed the assembled guests to the celebration. "Today is the first step to what will yield big public benefits. Franklin County is critical to us, a major gateway. This gives Pennsylvania a competitive advantage."

He thanked the multitude of entities who worked to make the terminal possible, including Mike Ross from the Franklin County Area Development Corporation. "His energy and persistence seems to have no bounds."

Rendell stressed the importance of revitalizing transportation infrastructure, which would carry the state into the future. "With facilities like this, businesses want to be here."

He had committed $45 million to the project, spread out over three years. Construction would start in 2010 on the 200-acre site and by 2015 employ 600 people. In addition, Norfolk was improving its yards in Harrisburg and Philadelphia for an eventual 26,000 new or enhanced jobs in the state.

State Senator Rich Alloway concluded the program, "Things like this don't just happen. It happens with a lot of leadership."

Fast facts

This terminal is part of Norfolk Southern's Crescent Corridor initiative, designed to improve its 2,500 mile rail line from the Gulf Coast to the Northeast.

Nearly $2.5 billion will be spent on projects. At build-out, 1 million trucks will be off the roads annually, saving 170 million gallons of fuel. In Pennsylvania alone 700,000 trucks will be diverted to rail, 10 million gallons of fuel saved, and carbon dioxide reduced 110,000 tons.

Savings of $8.5 million in accident costs are expected in the state.

The Franklin County Regional Intermodal Facility will be able to handle 85,000 containers and trailers each year.

Four trains will serve the terminal daily.

Rail uses one-third the fuel of trucks, getting 436 miles per gallon for a ton of freight.

Each train can carry 280 truckloads.