Benefits of Rail Freight

Norfolk Southern’s plan for the Crescent Corridor, a $2.5 billion upgrade of rail freight lines from New Jersey to Louisiana, could take one million trucks off I-81, including 750,000 trucks in Virginia.

Norfolk Southern has announced a $2.5 billion, multi-state I-81 Crescent Corridor plan to upgrade freight rail service over the next seven years, which could divert one million trucks, including 750,000 trucks in Virginia by 2013.

Moving freight from trucks to rail along the I-81 corridor is cheaper, more energy efficient and generates far less pollution than massive highway widening. A train can haul one ton of freight up to five times further than a truck on the same amount of fuel, about 423 miles on a gallon of diesel fuel. In addition, rail travel produces three times less carbon dioxide (CO2) than moving freight by truck.

The $2.5 billion cost of the Crescent Corridor upgrade, amounting to about $1 million per mile and shared across many states, is a stark contrast with the $11.4 billion estimate to widen I-81 in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, a cost of $33 million per mile.

Shenandoah Valley Network has joined with partner Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation to support improvements to freight rail in the I-81 corridor. Norfolk Southern recently was the top recipient for federal stimulus TIGER funding for its Crescent Corridor project, awarded $105 million in February 2010. The Crescent Corridor project is a significant first step in diverting freight traffic from I-81 onto the railroad.

  • Read SVN and Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation’s letter of support (PDF)

Rail Freight is just one step. Read the Six Point Plan for the Future of I-81.