Rail company plans hub at former Bethlehem Steel site

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Schuylkill Valley
Posts: 809
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2004 10:38 pm
Location: Pottstown,Pa. on the Chester County side

Rail company plans hub at former Bethlehem Steel site

Post by Schuylkill Valley »

I copied this from the Pottstown Mercury.

Len.

http://www.pottstownmercury.com/article ... de=default

POTTSTOWN — As soon as early next year, the amount of freight rail traffic on the main line that runs through Pottstown is likely to increase.

Also likely to increase is the amount of tractor-trailer traffic in the vicinity of the former Bethlehem Steel plant off Industrial Highway and South Keim Street.

Both are due to plans now being undertaken by Norfolk Southern Railroad, which owns the rail line and several rail spurs in the former Bethlehem Steel property. The company plans to create a hub for the transfer of bulk goods being brought in by rail.

Rudy Husband, a spokesman for Norfolk Southern's Pennsylvania office in Blue Bell, confirmed the project and said it could be up and running "by early next year."

Two things make that likely. First, there will be little or no construction required as the six tracks that will be used to store the full freight cars already exist as part of the former steel-yard complex. Second, federal law exempts the company from having to go through any local land development or planning process, Husband said.

He said the tracks would be used to store rail cars loaded with bulk goods, "both solids and liquids," which would then be transferred to trucks for local companies. Freight in the cars could range from flour for a local bakery to chemicals for local plants, Husband confirmed.

The trucks, Husband said "would predominantly be tractor-trailers."

The rail line that would see the increase in traffic would be the "main line" that runs past the former train station, along the north property line of the former Bethlehem site, now known as the Pottstown Industrial Complex, and beneath the Moser Avenue bridge.

The more southerly spur that runs closer to the Schuylkill River and was once used to supply Occidental Chemical will not be used as part of this project, Husband said.

Husband said no local jobs will be directly created as a result of the company's increased use of the tracks; however, the increased economic activity in the region "will help grow businesses in the region and could result in indirect job creation. The increased use of combining rail and truck transportation is part of a national trend for the company, which moves freight throughout the eastern half of the country.

Norfolk Southern operates about 21,000 miles of rail in 22 states and the District of Columbia and recently completed a series of tunnel enlargement projects that will shorten the routes for lines that can carry double-stacked cargo containers.

The project came to light locally Wednesday night when Borough Council President Stephen Toroney brought it up during a discussion about a proposed moderate senior housing project at the former Lincoln Underwear factory site at Industrial Highway and South Evans Street. Toroney was responding to suggestions that the senior housing should be turned down in favor of retail stores or hotels along the river.

Saying, "Why would we try to require more stores along the river when we can't fill the empty stores on High Street?" Toroney then brought up the rail line project, saying it might make the riverfront properties less attractive to such uses.

"It appears (the rail project) is going to happen and they may start construction in the next month or two," said Toroney. "This may open up the Bethlehem Steel site for heavy manufacturing or light industry and that is the only part of town that is zoned for that."

The single most important economic imperative for Pottstown, Toroney said, "are sustainable jobs. The jobs that can sustain a family. We need more jobs like that." He suggested that such a facility might help to create them.

The borough's economic development plan identifies the former steel site as a prime location to encourage redevelopment.

Borough Manager Jason Bobst said the borough is working to convince Norfolk Southern to have the majority of the truck traffic enter the borough to reach this facility via Moser Road, noting that an increase in truck traffic might also make the replacement of the Keim Street bridge a higher priority for PennDOT if more trucks are using it.

"We're already getting calls from short-haul trucking companies," said Bobst who said with the establishment of the new tracks will make Pottstown the main bulk freight transfer hub between Philadelphia and Harrisburg.

Here is a photo I took.
Image

Schuylkill Valley
Posts: 809
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2004 10:38 pm
Location: Pottstown,Pa. on the Chester County side

Re: Rail company plans hub at former Bethlehem Steel site

Post by Schuylkill Valley »

Here are few up date photo's of the ongoing track work.
Len.

Everything you see in this picture exsept for the stone is made of metal
Image
Here is an Atless No. 8 in large scale. :)
Image

loggingloco
Posts: 6
Joined: Thu Jul 15, 2010 10:40 am
Location: Pottstown, along the eastern shore of the mighty Schuylkill River

Re: Rail company plans hub at former Bethlehem Steel site

Post by loggingloco »

Thanks for the info.
I was wondering what was going on there. Glad the grade crossing will be in better shape.
I must have been out of town when the Mercury article was printed.
I was sad to see the old scale house gone.
Did you see NS delivering the new transformers for the power plant?

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