Norfolk Southern’s Heartland Corridor opens

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The first double-stacked container train to travel Norfolk Southern Corp.’s Heartland Corridor is heading from Norfolk to the Midwest.

The corridor shaves 250 miles and a day’s travel time off the typical route from Hampton Roads to the country’s inland markets.

Today marks the official opening of the Heartland Corridor, a three-year, $320 million public-private partnership that officials expect to boost rail freight and benefit the Port of Virginia.

The corridor could be a major gain for the port, as the route will allow shippers to more quickly move a higher volume of goods to the interior of the nation, making Hampton more competitive as a port location. It may also increase the use of freight rail, taking more trucks off the highways and helping the environment.

The project included increasing clearances at 28 tunnels and 24 overhead obstructions in Virginia, Ohio and West Virginia. It also resulted in the construction of the Rickenbacker Intermodal Facility, a truck-to-train facility in Columbus, Ohio, and the relocation of the Commonwealth Railway Line to serve APM Terminals in Portsmouth.

Funds for the Heartland Corridor came from Norfolk Southern, the federal government and Ohio, West Virginia and Virginia.

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