Norfolk Southern (NS) and Class II Florida East Coast Railway (FEC) are expanding their domestic intermodal interline services for customers doing business in Florida. Also, a grant from the BNSF Railway Foundation allows the Osceola, Ark., Fire Department to purchase a new drone.
Starting Oct. 2, NS will expand its existing portfolio to include FEC’s Ft. Pierce and Ft. Lauderdale intermodal terminals, the Class I reported Sept. 27. The expansion complements current service to FEC terminals in Titusville and Miami and provides shippers an opportunity to land traffic closer to facilities in the major Florida markets. Reduced drayage translates into fewer highway emissions and expenses, the railroads noted.
The move also expands direct access to and from markets in Chicago, Cincinnati, Harrisburg, Kansas City, Memphis, St. Louis, Lathrop, and Southern California (see map, above). To enable the new intermodal service, NS and FEC will use a “steel wheel interchange” to FEC at Jacksonville, they said.
“As part of our customer-centric and operations-driven approach, we are constantly looking for opportunities to drive value and help our customers efficiently reach new markets,” NS Chief Marketing Officer Ed Elkins said. With FEC, “we’re providing simple, effective and sustainable services for our customers and helping them grow as a result.”
“Florida East Coast Railway is ready to reach additional markets on the East and West Coasts of the United States by furthering its strong relationship with Norfolk Southern,” added Luis Hernández, Vice President of Intermodal for FEC, a wholly owned subsidiary of GMXT and the exclusive rail provider for Port Miami, Port Everglades and Port of Palm Beach. “It is a good time to work together to enhance the advantages that FEC offers to access strategic cities in the U.S., with a reliable, safe, and friendly with the environment service.”
When the Oscela, Ark., Fire Department needed help with search and rescue operations for its service area in Mississippi County, the BNSF Railway Foundation stepped in, according to a Sept. 26 BNSF Facebook post.
“We’ve helped the Osceola Fire Department in the past, and when the department told me they needed a drone for responding to hazmat events and aiding in local search and rescue efforts, we wanted to assist,” BNSF Executive Director Public Affairs Michael Garriga reported. “BNSF and the BNSF Railway Foundation have always made it a priority to invest in lifesaving tools and equipment used by first responders.”
The unmanned drone is equipped with high-definition cameras, thermal imaging capability and advanced mapping features, according to the Class I.
“We’re very thankful for this generous donation that’s allowed us to purchase a cutting-edge drone,” Oscela Fire Department Captain and Public Safety Officer Fred Hendrix said. “This is going to give incident command a bird’s eye view, allow them to fully assess the situation, and make better informed decisions with safety being the overall priority. The real value of the drone lies in the lives it is going to save.”