Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Norfolk-Southern Hopes to Expand Pennsylvania Rail Yard

October 25th, 2016

The Times-Tribune (Scranton, Pa.)
By Borys Krawczeniuk

A local freight transfer company plans to expand its operations at the Norfolk-Southern railroad yard in Taylor, Pennsylvania, creating at least 20 jobs, officials said Oct. 11.

The Northeast Freight Transfer Family of Companies asked Gov. Tom Wolf for a $3.1 million grant to help fund the $8 million project, state Rep. Sid Michaels Kavulich said. The company operates equipment that lifts shipping containers on and off railroad cars and tractor-trailers for distribution.

“Because of the widening of the Panama Canal and the deepening of the ports in Baltimore, Philadelphia and New Jersey, there’s up to 600 more [shipping] containers [per week] coming in on [each of] those ships,” Kavulich said. “They need to get those containers off and onto rail and to a transfer station and get them out quickly.”

Kavulich, who provided the job-creation estimate, said he hopes the governor comes through with the grant in the next month or two.

“We’ve been working really hard with the governor’s office, Norfolk-Southern,” he said. “It would be a great economic boost for the area. It is a shovel-ready project.”

Jeffrey Sheridan, a spokesman for Wolf, said the project remains under consideration with no final decision.

Construction would take nine months, Kavulich said.

Local and company officials discussed the project for more than a year.

In April 2015, Taylor Borough Council sent Northeast Transfer President Susan Duckworth a letter supporting the project.

Borough officials said they believe the project will boost the attractiveness of 150 acres of reclaimed former coal mine land across Main Street from the railroad yard.

“Successful completion of the project of the Taylor Industrial Redevelopment Project makes northeastern Pennsylvania more attractive to new and expanded private business investment,” Council President Ken Mickavicz wrote in the letter.

Borough Administrator Daniel Zeleniak said Oct. 11 the project also would divert heavy truck traffic from Depot Street, a dirt access road to the railroad yard. Entering Depot Street requires a wide turn from a steep part of Main Street, creating a serious potential traffic hazard, though only two minor wrecks happened so far, Zeleniak said.

The project would shift traffic to nearby Oak Street, a street that runs by the Stauffer Industrial Park and is built to handle truck traffic, he said.

Efforts to reach Northeast Freight and Norfolk-Southern officials for more information on the jobs and project were unsuccessful Oct. 11.

By Borys Krawczeniuk

The Times-Tribune (Scranton, Pa.)

Wolf Should Fund Taylor Rail Project

October 25th, 2016

From The Times-Tribune
BY THE EDITORIAL BOARD / PUBLISHED: OCTOBER 13, 2016

Norfolk Southern Railroad has targeted its Taylor rail yard for expansion, to help handle vastly increased container traffic. (Times-Tribune File)

Anyone who doubts the permanence and impact of global commerce should take a look at a project planned for the Norfolk Southern Railroad yard in Taylor. It could demonstrate by next year how the widening of the Panama Canal and related port expansions in Baltimore, Philadelphia and New Jersey could help create jobs in Lackawanna County.

The rail yard is a freight transfer station, where cargo is transferred from trucks to trains and from trains to trucks. The Northeast Freight Transfer Family of Companies, which operates the yard, envisions an $8 million expansion to handle the increased freight headed to the ports to the widening of the canal.

Massive new container ships that the new canal can accommodate will dock in East Coast ports, which are being deepened to handle them. Thousands more containers per year will be transferred inland by train to transfer stations, where they will be loaded on trucks to their final destinations.

The company has applied for a $3.1 million state Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program grant, which would be a worth public investment in the project.

Shipping by rail from ports to inland transfer stations keeps down shipping costs, reduces truck congestion on highways and diminishes pollution.

The Taylor project also directly would create about 20 good jobs, but its bigger impact over the long term likely would be in spinoff economic activity. Proximity to a major transfer site would be a significant economic development asset.

Gov. Tom Wolf should approve the RCAP grant to help the region economically take advantage of its proximity to some of the nation’s largest markets and to lay the foundation for further economic growth.

Lackawanna County Rail Project Gets State Money

October 25th, 2016

From The Citizen’s Voice
BY BORYS KRAWCZENIUK / PUBLISHED: OCTOBER 15, 2016

A plan to upgrade the Norfolk-Southern railroad yard in Taylor and create at least 20 new jobs got a boost Friday when Gov. Tom Wolf awarded the project a $1 million grant.

The grant fell far short of the $3.7 million that the Northeast Freight Transfer Family of Companies asked for, but officials said they hope to tap other state grant programs for additional funding.

“We’re happy we got $1 million but not satisfied,” state Rep. Sid Michaels Kavulich, D-Taylor, said. “This is not over.”

Jeffrey Sheridan, a spokesman for Wolf, said the governor received more than 350 applications totaling more than $1 billion.

“Not every project can receive the full amount requested,” Sheridan said.

Northeast Freight has operated the yard for Norfolk-Southern and predecessor railroads for 25 years. The yard sits just off Main Street near Oak Street.

Chris Cawley, a consultant to Northeast Freight, said the approximately $8 million project involves installing a new lift to pick up shipping containers, new roads within the yard and a drainage system.

The company will hire new mechanics, yard workers, lift and forklift operators and managers, Cawley said. The salaries will range from $14 to $24 an hour.

The company hopes to start construction in the spring and finish in about six months, Cawley said.

The yard expects more business because the opening of a wider Panama Canal created more shipping traffic.

Borough officials say the project also will divert heavy truck traffic from Depot Street, a dirt access road, to Oak Street, which runs by the Stauffer Industrial Park and can handle heavy truck traffic better.

bkrawczeniuk@timesshamrock.com