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Norfolk to improve rails that run through Decatur

By Tiffeny Hurtado
thurtado@decaturdaily.com · 340-2440

Norfolk Southern Corp. plans to improve the Crescent Corridor, which runs between Louisiana and New Jersey, and rails in Decatur will be part of the $2 billion dollar project.

Existing tracks in Decatur will be updated to increase the capacity of rail containers travelling across the country. Robin Chapman, a spokesman for Norfolk Southern, said the line that runs from Memphis to Chattanooga, which runs through Decatur, will be updated so that more trains will be on the rails more often.

Work on the corridor, which comprises about 1,400 miles of track, is scheduled to begin in 2008.

“Were talking about developing an entire corridor to help relieve pressure on the interstate system,” said Mike McClellan, Norfolk Southern’s vice president of intermodal and automotive marketing.

Chapman said the project will take more than 1 million trucks off the road, which would reduce carbon dioxide emissions and ease the congestion on highways.

“We’re trying to increase the capacity of intermodal travel between the trains and the trucks,” Chapman said.

He also brought up the economic benefits of the project.

“This will bring some economic opportunities as well to the city,” he said.

The Norfolk, Va.-based company already has received $40 million in seed money from Virginia and is pursuing other public money to complete the project.

McClellan said the railroad company is prepared to “invest a lot in this corridor ... up to an amount that provides us an acceptable return on our investment.”

Chapman said the project should be complete by 2013.

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