Friday, August 18th, 2017

Norfolk Southern Detroit D Line

Posted: Monday, February 14, 2011

Article submitted by the Hoosier Heartland Industrial Corridor, Inc.

The Norfolk Southern line that crosses A7 at County Road 900 in Huntington County is referred to as the Norfolk Southern Detroit D Line. The line runs from Detroit to St. Louis and from there on west via Kansas City. This line averages approximately 33 trains per day, and on a yearly basis ships just under 50 megatons of freight.  The term megaton means 1 million metric tons.  That is 50 million metric tons per year.

Current data indicates that the average value of a ton of freight shipped by rail is roughly $250. (This number may appear low, but it is important to keep in mind that more than 40% of all rail traffic involves the shipment of coal.) If this figure is applied to the volume of traffic that is carried on the rail line that crosses the A7 Corridor, the dollar value of these shipments exceeds $12.5 billion annually. This is likely a conservative estimate, since the rail line carries a great deal of high value freight, such as automobiles and parts.

When you add in the increased traffic from Corridor 4, GM Manufacturing Plant and the Huntington Industrial Park, you have the potential for an accident that could impact the national economy. The mix of traffic using the A7 Corridor is trending toward substantially more trucks and tankers. We saw a similar shift on US 24 in Ohio. Once the rest of the Corridor is open to traffic in 2013, there will be an additional increase in transit trucks using the A7 Corridor.

We have all been concerned about the cost of completing A7.  These costs represent a very small fraction of the value of freight being shipped across the line.  It also represents a small fraction of the economic impact and the secondary costs that could occur if there was an accident.  The Hoosier Heartland Industrial Corridor, Inc. Coalition hadn’t thought about the traffic numbers on A7 for a while, but just try to close your eyes and imagine 50 megatons of freight dodging trucks and cars on a FHWA High-Priority Corridor.