Southen Railway has completed a $2.3 million expansion of its trailer-on-flatcar loading and unloading terminal at Jacksonville, Fla., making it the largest of i39 intermodal facilities on Southern's 13 state system.
The improvements more than triple the capacity for moving freight traffic through Jacksonville, an intermodal traffic hub that is linked directly to the North and industrial Midwest by the single-system rails of the Norfolk Southern Corporation. Jacksonville is an important warehouse and distribution center.
The Jacksonville expansion will result in improved rail service to shippers. Two giant hydraulically operated gantry cranes, designed and built by Southern, have been erected. Each crane operates on a 30-car-long track, which means the facility can handle 60 flatcars, each capable of hauling two trailers or containers, simultaneously.
Before the expansion only one 20-car track was available to handle the growing Jacksonville piggyback traffic, which showed a 47.4 percent first-quarter increase this year.
The piggyback growth at Jacksonville "has been rather fantastic" said Robert A. Wharton, general manager of Southern's intermodal transportation services, Atlanta. "There was a system wide increase of 31.7 percent over the first quarter of 1981. The expansion of our Jacksonville facility will enable us to better handle our present business and allow for further expected growth.
In addition to the new cranes, a 30-car-long storage track has been laid for storing empty flatcrs, and 250 spaces for parking trailers have been added, with expansion room for another 500.
Shippers will benefit from the expanded facility in four ways: same-day delivery will be enhanced as a result of improved grounding of trailers and containers from flatcars; fewer delay will result, because the increased track capacity of he cranes will reduced switching; on-time service will improve as a result of the new cranes and added parking facilities; and the railroad will be able to serve a greater number of shippers. Each crane is operated by one person and is capable of grounding from a flatcar in three minutes.
The expanded Jacksonville terminal is the third largest intermodal facility on the 21-state Norfolk Southern system and the largest in the South. Only the facilities in St. Louis and Chicago both operated by Norfolk and Western are larger than the Jacksonville facility, which is part of Southern's Simpson Yard off Edgewood Avenue in the northwest part of the city.