As Hurricane Ian makes its way to the Florida Gulf Coast, with landfall expected between Sept. 28 and Sept. 30, Class I railroads Norfolk Southern (NS) and CSX are taking precautions to prepare for the storm’s impact.
NS says it is monitoring Hurricane Ian, whose winds are expected to begin impacting the Southeast on Wednesday, Sept. 28, before making landfall at the northwest coast of Florida on Friday, Sept. 30.
Currently, the railroad says, “there are no impacted service areas and NS is operating as scheduled.” However, since high winds and heavy rains could impact rail operations later this week, NS is positioning generators and equipment in advance of the storm and says it will provide updates as conditions change.
Customers with shipments moving through the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic “should prepare for delays,” NS adds.
CSX says it is implementing emergency preparations as Hurricane Ian approaches the Florida Gulf Coast, with “landfall expected Wednesday morning between Tampa and Fort Myers.” Precautions are being taken “to ensure employee safety and protect rail assets in advance of the storm,” the railroad says.
At this time, CSX says, no rail terminals have been closed, but rail assets “are being secured and customer shipments are likely to be delayed until the storm passes.” In addition, operations at several CSX intermodal, TDSI auto handling terminals and TRANSFLO transloading terminals are being suspended.
Additional terminal closures, CSX says, may be necessary as the storm tracks northeast across Florida. Current forecasts predict tropical storm force winds and potential flooding over much of the state. CSX says it will “continue to monitor storm conditions and provide timely notifications of service impacts and terminal closures as warranted.”
CSX says intermodal customers should expect delays for rail traffic into and out of Florida. Terminals currently impacted include:
- Central Florida ILC—Gate closed to all traffic at 2000 Tuesday, Sept. 27, with suspension of all inbound and outbound trains. Reservations are no longer available for traffic destined to CFILC.
- Tampa—Gate closed to all traffic at 0600 Wednesday, Sept. 28, with suspension of all inbound and outbound trains at that time. Reservations no longer available for traffic destined to Tampa as of Tuesday, Sept. 27.
All other intermodal terminals are maintaining normal gate hours at this time, but additional gate closures and train cancellations may be necessary, CSX says.
CSX TDSI operations will be suspended at four Florida terminals. These include:
- Tampa—Currently closed for all activity. Plan is to assess terminal Friday morning, Sept. 30, and re-open gates for haul-away traffic by 1000, conditions permitting.
- Palm Center—No unload operations Wednesday, Sept. 28, or Thursday, Sept. 29, although CSX trains will continue to have access to receiving/departure yards. Gates close to haul-away traffic at 1200 Wednesday. Plan is to reopen for haul-away at 0700 Friday.
- Sanford (Orlando)—No unload operations Wednesday, Sept. 28, or Thursday, Sept. 29. Gates close to haul-away traffic at 1200 Wednesday. Plan is to reopen for haul-away at 0700 Friday.
- Jacksonville—No unload operations Thursday, Sept. 29, likely extending through Friday, Sept. 30. Gates close at 0600 Thursday. Plan is to reopen gates for haul-away at 1200 on Friday, earlier if possible.
CSX TRANSFLO operations will be suspended at three Florida terminals. These include:
- Tampa—Closed from Tuesday, Sept. 27 through Thursday, Sept. 29.
- Tampa Port—Closed from Tuesday, Sept. 27 through Thursday, Sept. 29.
- Sanford—Closed on Thursday, Sept. 29.