Norfolk-Southern Hopes to Expand Pennsylvania Rail Yard

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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.