CSX to build $60 million intermodal yard near Pittsburgh

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CSX Transportation is building an intermodal yard over a 70-acre former Pittsburgh & Lake Erie yard in McKees Rocks, Pa. Pennsylvania and CSX officials held a ground breaking ceremony for the site on Friday.
Earl Bugaile
McKees Rocks, Pa.
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PITTSBURGH — CSX Transportation is beginning work on a multi-million-dollar intermodal yard near Pittsburgh that the railroad's president says is a "natural fit" for the company. 

On Friday, Pennsylvania state and local officials along with CSX executive broke ground on a more than $60 million intermodal yard on a 70-acre site once occupied by the rail yards of Pittsburgh & Lake Erie in McKees Rocks, Pa., just north and west Pittsburgh. The P&LE ceased operations in the 1980s, which was a vital part of the community’s economy. The CSX Terminal, which has been in the planning stages for the past two years, was created through a partnership with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the Allegheny (County, Pa.) Conference on Community Development, local elected officials and the McKees Rocks Community Development Corporation.

When completed in 2017, CSX says it will be similar to the facility in Chambersburg, Pa., and have an annual lift capacity of 50,000 containers. It will have two processing tracks. Three rubber tired gantry cranes capable of stacking containers four-high, and four terminal buildings.

The McKees Rocks/Stowe area has been a depressed community with significant job losses and business closings since the departure of P&LE along with other industry.
CSX says the new terminal will provide more than 150 temporary construction jobs as well as nearly 40 permanent operating jobs. The communities feel the terminal will create employment opportunities related to the terminal.

“McKees Rocks and Stowe Township will have a new beginning because of this terminal,” says McKees Rock mayor, Jack Muhr. “We’ve had a long history through P&LE and this is the next chapter.”

“This terminal will have a long-lasting impact on the region’s economy and help modernize the rail system and create jobs,” says U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa.,
“We view this (terminal) as a step to generating new business opportunities for community and the entire region, stated Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald.

CSX President Clarence Gooden attended the groundbreaking and said the new terminal will become an important part of the National Gateway project.

 “It ties in with our Northwest Ohio Intermodal Terminal, and the one in Chambersburg,” Gooden tells Trains News Wire. “There was a hole in the network. (The P&LE yard) was a natural fit.”

Gooden says intermodal traffic is the way of the future and part of the global economy. Citing losses created by the decline in coal traffic, he said “Intermodal is the fastest growing part of the rail business. Quite frankly, if you don’t have the ability to provide intermodal transportation in your community you are not going to be able to compete."

In a conference call with investors in November CSX executives said they expected intermodal growth to lead CSX in 2016 as the railroad attempts to get more shippers to switch from trucks to railroads in the Eastern U.S.
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