Friday, May 16, 2014

Cold Train plans terminal expansion

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While BNSF expands capacity along its Northern Corridor, many of its customers are expanding their own facilities to accommodate more of the business that corridor carries. The Port of Quincy in central Washington serves a bustling agriculture region that ships an ever-increasing amount of its products by rail. Key to Quincy's success is the intermodal terminal where Cold Train Express containers are loaded for pick-up by BNSF high-priority intermodal trains.

Patrick Boss, Public Affairs & Business Development at Port of Quincy, tells Railway Age, "Since the Cold Train service (initially between Quincy, Wash., and Chicago) began, it has rapidly grown in popularity with frozen food and fresh produce shippers in the Pacific Northwest, and Cold Train picks up and drops off loads all over Washington State and in some parts of northern Oregon.

Additionally, eastbound shipments of Pacific Northwest fresh produce and frozen foods on the Cold Train (via the Port of Quincy Intermodal Terminal) have risen several hundred percent and continue to climb. In 2010, Cold Train shipped about 1,000 intermodal shipments to/from Quincy, while in 2013 Cold Train shipped over 7,000 intermodal shipments to/from Quincy."

Port of Quincy, Cold Train, and BNSF are finding that current track configurations at Quincy will not keep up with projected growth in business there. At present, intermodal trains must occupy the main line while making pick-ups or set-outs of Cold Train containers.

Says Boss, "The Port of Quincy is requesting $16,200,000 for a TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) VI Grant for the Port of Quincy Intermodal Terminal Infrastructure Expansion Project, which would expand the infrastructure at the Port of Quincy Intermodal Terminal to accommodate the rapid growth in temperature controlled domestic intermodal shipments (frozen foods, etc.) from/to Washington State via Quincy, and to help eliminate congestion on the Northern Corridor line."

The proposed expansion at Quincy would be ambitious. According to Boss, "The Port of Quincy Intermodal Terminal Infrastructure Expansion Project would include installation of three additional intermodal tracks to increase the capacity of the facility to be able to simultaneously load or unload a 7500-foot intermodal container train. The project would also include a new track to allow trains of up to 8000 feet to pull off of the main line at Quincy for arrival and departure in one piece, a 7,500-foot long set-out/pick-up track, and expanding the terminal surface area to provide for more container storage. In addition, the Port of Quincy would provide a $1.8-million local match for the project."

Boss also points out that Cold Train has committed substantial private investment and now has a total of approximately 450 refrigerated containers at the Port of Quincy Intermodal Terminal. "Cold Train has continued to expand the number of destinations/locations it serves," notes Boss, "and is now delivering perishable cargo (such as fresh produce and frozen foods) via Quincy, Wash., to 24 states in the Midwest and East Coast, and one Canadian province (Ontario)."

Boss says, "If funding is received, the project could begin in 2015.