Norfolk Southern celebrated its new, $97 million rail-truck project Tuesday with a dedication ceremony and a new name for the facility.
Norfolk Southern officials cut the ribbon on the new Franklin County Regional Intermodal Facility at 612 Antrim Commons Drive in Greencastle during the ceremony.
“This terminal really is one of the landmark economic development projects that has taken place in Franklin County in my (27-year) tenure,” said L. Michael Ross, president of the Franklin County Area Development Corp.
The terminal began operations Jan. 20.
Charles “Wick” Moorman, Norfolk Southern’s president and chief executive officer, said one of the best things about the intermodal terminals is they create jobs and spark economic growth.
“Everywhere we go, when we locate, jobs start coming in. The shovels start turning ground over. Buildings start to go up and all of that starts to make more and more vibrant communities,” Moorman said.
All around the Antrim Commons Business Park where the terminal is located, businesses are emerging, Ross said.
“We anticipate that this park will be arguably the best economic development opportunity in the commonwealth,” Ross said.
A company is building a 1.8 million-square-foot distribution center in Shippensburg (Pa.) off exit 24 in large part because of the intermodal, Ross said.
He couldn’t disclose the tenant, but said the project could mean 963 jobs for the area.
“A big part of their decision making was based on the intermodal terminal being in Franklin County,” Ross said.
They are already having a major impact on the economy, Ross said.
Currently, the intermodal facility employs 100 people at the site.
But Ross and Moorman said thousands of jobs could be created from the business development fostered by the terminal.
Norfolk Southern employs about 4,500 people in Pennsylvania with a $296.3 million payroll, according to company literature.
Its completion is a milestone for Norfolk Southern, Moorman said.
The Franklin County facility is part of the railroad’s Crescent Corridor, a 2,500-mile network of rail and terminals that reduces truck traffic on highways and cuts carbon emissions, he said.
A fully loaded intermodal train takes about 280 truckloads off the highway, Moorman said.
“We think here in Pennsylvania alone, we’ll be diverting almost 800,000 truckloads by the time the corridor is built out. That ... saves about 10 1/2 million gallons of fuel a year,” he said.
U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Pa., commended Ross for his efforts in bringing the Franklin County Regional Intermodal Facility to Franklin County.
“It’s good for the environment. It’s good for the highway system. It’s good for the traveling public,” Shuster said. “It’s really great for the economy because if we have an efficient, modern system ....that’s the way we stay competitive in the world.”
Not only will thousands of jobs be created, but trucks will be taken off the roads, making it safer, he said.
Franklin County Commissioner Bob Thomas, who serves on the I-81 Steering Committee, echoed Shuster’s sentiments.
“We applaud this effort to help make our community stronger for the future, that our future will be brighter, that more people will be living here and with good-quality jobs,” he said.