The Heartland Corridor, shown in Figure 47, is the most direct high-capacity intermodal route between the Mid-Atlantic and Midwest. The corridor connects the Port of Virginia to major destinations in the Midwest including Chicago, Detroit, Columbus and Cincinnati (Federal Highway Administration 2014). Prior to the Heartland Corridor, Norfolk Southern (NS) was forced to use the Norfolk & Western main lines across Virginia, Southern West Virginia and Ohio to carry double-stack trains through Harrisburg or Knoxville. The Heartland Corridor project cut nearly 200 miles from each double-stack container moved to Chicago and reduced Norfolk to Chicago transit times from three days to two. More information including the major components of the project is detailed in Chapter 9. Some of the key benefits realized by the completion of the corridor include:
- Reduced transit times and costs for shippers via the corridor;
- Improved mobility for truck freight and passenger cars attributed to diverted truck traffic;
- Environmental benefits from reduced truck emissions; and
- Improved access to global trade routes through Port of Hampton Roads for shippers and manufacturers in Virginia, West Virginia, Ohio, and Eastern Kentucky (KY).
The Crescent Corridor, shown in Figure 48, consists of a 2,500-mile network of existing rail lines that extends from New Jersey to Memphis and on to New Orleans. The project includes straightening curves, adding signals, and building new track and rail terminals. In addition, a partnership between NS and the states of Tennessee, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Alabama, and Mississippi will improve the system and develop regional intermodal freight distribution centers (Norfolk Southern 2009). More information on the project is presented in Chapter 9. The anticipated logistical and environmental benefits and impacts of the improvements on the Crescent Corridor network include (Norfolk Southern 2014):
- Removing more than 1.3 million long-haul truckloads of activity from roadways on an annual basis;
- Creating new terminal facilities in Birmingham, AL., Memphis, TN., Charlotte, N.C., and Greencastle, PA;
- Saving more than $575 million in traffic congestion annually; and
- Reducing 1.9 million tons of carbon dioxide annually.