Speeds freight between Midwest and Southeast
CN and Norfolk Southern Corporation announced an initiative to create a “MidAmerica Corridor” in which the railroads will share track between Chicago, St. Louis, Kentucky, and Mississippi to establish shorter and faster routes for merchandise and coal traffic moving between the Midwest and Southeast.
This initiative, when finalized through definitive agreements, will have three components. First, Norfolk Southern (NS) will haul CN freight between Chicago and St. Louis, reducing the distance between these points for CN shipments by 60 miles and providing improved connections to other rail carriers through the St. Louis gateway.
Second, NS will use CN’s routes between St. Louis and Fulton, Ky., as part of a new, more efficient route from the Midwest to the Southeast, saving more than 50 miles on NS shipments.
Third, CN will haul NS freight between Chicago and Fulton, shortening NS’s Chicago-to-Birmingham route by almost 100 miles.
As part of the MidAmerica Corridor, CN and NS plan to create a new coal gateway at Corinth, MS, to better link NS-served southeastern utility plants with CN-served Illinois Basin coal producers.
A key component of the new initiative is the West Tennessee Railroad between Fulton and Corinth, which will be upgraded to handle heavier shipments and additional rail traffic.
E. Hunter Harrison, president and chief executive officer of CN, said: “This innovative track-sharing arrangement will expedite our customers’ shipments, improve asset utilization and generate new efficiencies for both CN and NS.”
Wick Moorman, chief executive officer of Norfolk Southern, said: “The MidAmerica Corridor is an important partnership that will create better routes for shippers on both railroads. On the Norfolk Southern system, it will help level demand on our busy north-south routes, while improving service and velocity for many more customers.”
The initiative will be finalized with the completion of definitive agreements and approval for the exchange of trackage rights with the US Surface Transportation Board in the next few months.