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First Train Runs Through New Virginia Avenue Tunnel

12/23/2016 11:35:46 AM
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CSX Double-Stack Clears Rail Corridors Between Mid-Atlantic Ports and Midwest Destinations

WASHINGTON, Dec. 23, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- CSX (Nasdaq:CSX) today announced the on-time completion of the first phase of the new Virginia Avenue Tunnel project in Washington, D.C., clearing the way for trains to transport double-stacked intermodal freight between Mid-Atlantic seaports and the Midwest on CSX’s railroad network.

FIRST TRAIN RUNS THROUGH NEW VIRGINIA AVENUE TUNNEL
First Train Through New CSX Virginia Avenue Tunnel -- Dec. 23, 2016 -- A northbound CSX freight train carrying double-stacked intermodal freight made the first trip through the company’s new Virginia Avenue Tunnel in southeast Washington, D.C., signifying completion of the first phase of construction on the critical-infrastructure project. Primarily funded by CSX, the project removes the last of 61 height obstacles on CSX’s network for trains carrying double-stacked standardized containers between several East Coast ports and markets throughout the central United States. The train had two locomotives and 50 cars of double-stacked freight traveling from Portsmouth, Va., to North Baltimore, Ohio.


A photo accompanying this announcement is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/d21d1447-52c1-44fa-99cc-f7c7642246e4

The Virginia Avenue Tunnel is the last of 61 clearance projects that comprise the $850 million National Gateway Initiative, an innovative public-private partnership announced in 2008 to create more-efficient pathways for rail freight between key U.S. markets through investment in critical transportation infrastructure.

The first CSX freight train passed through the new southern tunnel of the two-tunnel project at 8 a.m. today, carrying double-stacked intermodal freight containers between Portsmouth, Va., and North Baltimore, Ohio. Work on the northern tunnel has already begun, and the entire project is expected to be completed on schedule in mid-2018.

“Clearing the National Gateway for double-stack freight creates more efficient, more environmentally friendly routes to move the essential goods that fuel today’s economy,” said Michael J. Ward, CSX chairman and chief executive officer. “Thanks to the support of our federal and state partners over the past eight years and the commitment of CSX’s shareholders to invest in the company’s future, the double-stack-cleared National Gateway will allow CSX to better meet the needs of consumers and businesses throughout the eastern U.S. for decades to come.”

When both tunnels are complete, the Virginia Avenue Tunnel project will relieve a significant Mid-Atlantic rail bottleneck that impacts freight and passenger service in the region as the growing volume of rail traffic has consumed the capacity of the existing infrastructure.

In addition, truck traffic, carbon emissions and wear-and-tear on the region’s highways will be reduced as shippers take advantage of the more-efficient and environmentally friendly rail service made possible by the project. The project is replacing an existing tunnel, portions of which were first constructed in 1870, that does not provide sufficient vertical clearance for double-stack intermodal containers and is not wide enough to allow a two-track rail configuration.

Nationally, the award-winning National Gateway Initiative is expected to create more than 50,000 jobs and deliver a host of benefits including reduced fuel consumption, lower emissions, improved safety, lower highway maintenance costs and reduced shipping costs. The project is expected to deliver more than $10 billion in public benefits in its first 30 years of operations – a return of $36 in public benefits for every $1 of public money invested.

The National Gateway Initiative has been supported by the District of Columbia, Maryland, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia, as well as a diverse group of 336 public and private-sector organizations and individuals, including Big Lots!, UPS and The Limited.

On December 15, Maryland submitted an application for a U.S. Department of Transportation FASTLANE grant to double-stack clear the Howard Street Tunnel and ten highway/rail crossings in Baltimore, which would remove the final impediments to a fully double-stack cleared rail corridor between Florida and New York. The Howard Street Tunnel project, if funded, will generate competitive advantages for the Port of Baltimore, remove additional trucks from the nation’s highways and create more than $640 million in benefits to 25 eastern states. CSX has committed to contribute $145 million of the funding required to complete the project.

About CSX

CSX, based in Jacksonville, Florida, is a premier transportation company. It provides rail, intermodal and rail-to-truck transload services and solutions to customers across a broad array of markets, including energy, industrial, construction, agricultural, and consumer products. For nearly 190 years, CSX has played a critical role in the nation’s economic expansion and industrial development. Its network connects every major metropolitan area in the eastern United States, where nearly two-thirds of the nation’s population resides. It also links more than 240 short-line railroads and more than 70 ocean, river and lake ports with major population centers and farming towns alike. More information about CSX Corporation and its subsidiaries is available at www.csx.com. Like us on Facebook (http://facebook.com/OfficialCSX) and follow us on Twitter (http://twitter.com/CSX).

Contact:
Rob Doolittle
(202) 626-4939

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