Norfolk Southern on Wednesday showed off its new rail yard at Charlotte Douglas International Airport, a 200-acre cargo transfer facility that officials hope will lead to a building boom.
The rail yard can move containers from trucks to trains and vice versa, adding to shipping capacity in Charlotte. It replaces Norfolk Southern’s current rail yard just north of uptown.
The $92 million rail yard was built with almost $16 million worth of federal grants. Norfolk Southern is also eligible for tax credits over the coming years that could be worth millions of dollars, spokesman Robin Chapman said.
The company is paying Charlotte Douglas $1 million a year in rent for the facility, which can move 200,000 cargo containers a year and has parking for 1,331 trucks.
In an effort to spur development, the Charlotte City Council recently established a staff committee to study what infrastructure needs to be built around the airport. Officials hope the Norfolk Southern yard will attract more businesses, including manufacturing, trucking and warehouse companies.
While intermodal shipping – as the train-truck transfers are known – has increased in recent years, the location of Norfolk Southern’s new yard makes it one-of-a-kind.
“An intermodal yard between two runways – you’re not going to find that anywhere else,” said Chapman.
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