|A Day Inside The Gates at CSX|
Posting Date: 11/17/2010
The CSX Intermodal Yard west of North Baltimore, in Henry Township held a Media Day recently. TheNBXpress was invited and I was excited to attend, get a tour and be able to take my camera!
The $170,000,000 project broke ground in August of 2009, although by that time a considerable amount of the former Black Swamp was moved around. They said they would be ready for action in the late Spring of 2011. But here it is Fall of 2010 and it appears that CSX is just about ready to start moving some containers.
What follows is a bit of a photo tour of the facility. CSX has been pretty tight on security at the site, and rightfully so. They are employing new technology and they have many competitors who would love to get an inside track on some of it. It's like that in the news business as well, with reporters trying to get inside the gates for some photos of the goings on.
I was invited inside the gates several months ago for a quick tour with Peter Craig, the Superintendent of the yard, but he said no camera - no photos. And I was okay with that, just to get the chance to be near those massive new high tech cranes! In addition, I was willing to "play by the rules" and not bully my way around, trying to slip inside for some photos. From time to time I have set up my camera on the perimeter, on public roadways and peered through openings in the dike that surrounds the facility. If you follow TheNBXpress at all, you have seen many photos that gave you a pretty good idea of what was happening there, without having to compromise the wishes of CSX.
The first thing I noticed on my tour was the 20 foot long schematic of the layout of the 500 acre yard. It is three miles from the east to the west! There are 45 acres of roller compressed concrete, ranging in depth from 7 to 16 inches, depending on what will be traversing any particular area.
The little kid in me was intrigued by the mock-up of the rail yard with little wooden and plastic pieces the represent rail cars and locomotives and such. The mock up is about thirty feet long and is used by operators and managers at the yard to get a feel for the flow of the trains, which run from 6,000 to 8,000 feet in length. While this seems to be long, their trains that have been passing through North Baltimore the past several years have been running this length, so there will not really be a increase in the size of the trains.
Peter Craig (standing in the center - talking), the superintendent of the yard, addresses reports in the old farm house that the Emahiser family sold to CSX. They have converted it to office and conference space, for use until the construction of the structures within the yard are completed.
The are several buildings being built within the yard to serve a multitude of functions. While we were not yet allowed to tour inside the facilities, concept drawings were available. Above is the Gate Building, which will house most of the management offices and a conference area.
The Maintenance Building will be used for maintenance, as well as providing crew transition areas and additional offices.
The Crew Building will be the main area for the crews from within the yard, as well as train crews to spend time, prepare for work, have safety meetings and event workout, eat lunch and shower up.
From the inside of the Main Entrance at Wingston Road, the colors are proudly displayed.
Next to the massive cranes, the most impressive feature of the tour was the $700,000 crane simulator. This high tech and one of a kind piece of modern technology features multiple big screen TV's, state of the art audio, state of the art motion simulation, state of the art control - needless to say - it's state of the art. The big function of course is training. But CSX is big on safety (a way of life) and this machine will afford opportunities to evaluate the effects of weather and the elements, analyze various scenarios and provide efficient operation of the cranes. The main skills and talents to be a crane operator are VIDEO GAME SKILLS, as the hand eye coordination that people develop playing the new, modern video games will greatly match the joystick controls of the cranes.
The simulator totally surrounds the operator with video screens, even so that they can look through the bottom of the crane and down onto railcars and truck beds!
With 45 acres of concrete, equating to miles and miles of road surface, CSX has invested in a salt barn that rivals what the Ohio Department of Transportation would use, holding over 1,500 tons of salt. Two, 250,000 gallon fuel tanks were built at the facility for fueling locomotives. There are also service tracks at the facility for performing maintenance.
The big canopy that can be noticed from State Route 18 reminds me of a fuel island canopy at a gas station. But, the canopy will serve the purpose as the first stop for trucks in and out of the facility as modern technology, including a card reader, will help check loads in and out more efficiently.
Part of the check in and out process looks like a toll booth on the turnpike.
Can you imagine climbing 10 flights of stairs every morning to get to your place of work, no matter what the weather. Crane operators will be provided "comfort stations" in the cabs of their cranes, which will allow for the incineration of their bodily functions, as climbing down and running over to a toilet will not be practical, safe or efficient. And if you've had that stomach bug that is going around... well, I'll say no more.
The crane operator gives a wave as he "shows off" for the assembled media. These machines will handle the 40,000 pound containers like a box of crackers, spinning around and lifting and placing with a surprising nimbleness!
The 40,000 ton cranes ride a rail in the yard, that is supported by 16 inches of roller compressed concrete. There are 80,000 rail ties, 50,000 of which are metal. There is over 20 miles of chain link fence, 26 miles of rail, over 100 miles of copper wire, and on and on, for this massive and one of a kind facility!
This just about exceeds the capacity for one story! So, we are working on a video of the cranes in operation. In addition, we will have more information about the processes and capacity of various elements of the yard.
There will be a Grand Opening in the Spring of 2011, which I am guessing will include a bunch of hi-faluting folks from all across the country. In addition, CSX is planning a stockholders meeting to be held in our area, in 2011, which should bring heavy hitters and big rollers to the area, for a visit. NB needs to be working NOW to put our best foot forward, clean things up, and "make happy" with the preparations!
|Posted Date: 11/17/2010|
Wow! Great pictures. A lot sure has changed since we moved away last October. Looking forward to seeing it all when we come home for a visit sometime this spring!
By: Jen Houck
|08/14/2012 - CSX Intermodal Terminals Wins American Council of Engineering Companies Award|
|04/20/2012 - ODOT AWARDS STATE ROUTE 18 RELOCATION PROJECT|
|04/20/2012 - JRS Grant for $500,000 to benefit Henry Township and the general development around the CSX Intermodal|
|02/07/2012 - FIRMS code issued to CSX Northwest Ohio Intermodal|
|01/06/2012 - Customers Locate on CSX in 17 States in 2011|
|06/20/2011 - CSX Intermodal Terminals Partners in Northwest Ohio|
|02/10/2011 - North Baltimore, Ohio to be Midwest Hub as CSX Intermodal Corridor Project Gets Underway|
|02/05/2011 - Northwest Ohio Terminal Facility|
|02/05/2011 - National Gateway Poised to Create Jobs, Improve Infrastructure |
|01/06/2011 - What Does "drayage" mean?|
|11/12/2010 - Just In The Newsroom: CSX Holds Media Day|
|10/12/2010 - CSX Moves in Lots of Little Machines|
|10/05/2010 - NWO Facility to be "Game-Changer"|
|09/16/2010 - See The Progress of the CSX Rail Yard|
|08/27/2010 - The Western Horizon in Changing|
|08/27/2010 - Main Entrance Into Intermodal Under Construction|
|08/26/2010 - NB's Panama Connection|
|08/25/2010 - Rail Grinder Cruise Through NB|
|08/20/2010 - NB Rotary Corn Roast Hears About CSX Project|
|08/18/2010 - CSX Salt Barn: They Have Lots To Plow|
|07/20/2010 - Bulk Water Station Being Built by NWWSD Within CSX Intermodal Site|
|07/17/2010 - Major Rail Project in Galatea|
|07/14/2010 - Big Parts Being Assembled at CSX|
|06/20/2010 - New Lights at Intermodal Yard Energized|
|06/19/2010 - New Rail Yard Boss Speaks at Port of Toledo Ceremony|
|06/18/2010 - Historic: CSX Container Train Rolls Into Yard|
|06/17/2010 - Crane Components Heading to NB|
|06/16/2010 - Beluga Fanfare Arrives at Port of Toledo|
|06/12/2010 - Update Photos of Intermodal Construction|
|05/28/2010 - CSX Installs Lighting at Rail Yard |
|05/12/2010 - Hyundai Intermodal Choses CSX Intermodal For Eastern US Access|
|05/10/2010 - Emergency Management Exercise Held At North Baltimore High School|
|04/23/2010 - NBXpress Publisher Interviewed on WTOL 11|
|04/15/2010 - UFO Spotted Over Intermodal Site???|
|03/06/2010 - CSX "Passenger" Train in NB|
|02/26/2010 - Important Transportation Meetings Could Deal With Route 18 Connector|