Norfolk Southern has placed online a pretty slick video of their “faster service from Louisiana to New Jersey”.   There are some great scenes of the railroad, handsome engines and equipment, even some double track.   Even more impressive is the bucolic landscape of the Valley Route of the Crescent Corridor.   There are some great scenes of the the Tennessee Valley and the Blue Ridge Mountains.

We are glad to see Norfolk Southern moving to improve the speed and reliability of the Crescent Corridor, especially the part we in Rail Solution term the Valley Corridor— that is, the part of Norfolk Southern system that closely parallels interstate highways- I-40, I-75, and I-81 from Memphis to Pennsylvania and on to New Jersey.  We have been-long time advocates of developing a rail system in the corridor with higher speeds and reliability, so that rail can make a huge dent in the truck-hauling freight on the interstate highways in the Valley Corridor.  But, Norfolk Southern has a long way to go to reach the potential of rail in the Valley Corridor.   What is needed is multiple tracks, elimination of at-grade crossing, higher speed, more service to the intermediate cities in the corridor, and eventual electrification, along the lines of the Steel Interstate concept, which we describe on our companion website.

It takes a lot of money to realize the potential of the Valley Corridor.   And, that is why Rail Solution has proposed public-private partnerships and new funding sources for conversion of the main routes of the U.S. rail system to a system of steel interstates.   The proposals made to the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives over a period of 2 years may be downloaded from this website.   Briefly, there are proposals for:

  • funding prototype steel interstate system feasibility studies of three potential multi-modal corridors,
  • proposals for legislation to create the national Steel Interstate system and to fund it, using a combination of public and private financing.   The financing concept was repatriation of overseas profits, a 1-2 % tax on most imports, and investment tax credits, all to be associated with the development of improved infrastructure meeting Steel Interstate standards.

In addition, comprehensive suggestions were made to the T and I Committee to address the recommendations of the Panel on 21st Century Freight Transportation, which was headed by Congressman John Duncan.   Of course, there has been no action from the committee on any of these ideas submitted by Rail Solution.

Norfolk Southern and other railroad companies need to get behind ideas such as the ones we have submitted for advancing their systems to meet the needs of the 21st century for both freight and passenger rail that service short and intermediate distances (in other words-not high speed rail).   We are taking here passenger service as an added benefit from Roanoke to Bristol and Knoxville and Knoxville to Atlanta.  Those routes do not have to be HSR to provide excellent service.

 

Valley Corridor of Norfolk Southern paralleling I-40, I-75, and I-81 from Memphis to Harrisburg.

Valley Corridor- Northern line of the Norfolk Southern Crescent Corridor

 

There are similar corridor all over the country that need similar solutions.

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