More trains may use Seagirt rail yard CSX wants to close facility in Alexandria

November 20, 1991|By John H. Gormley Jr.

CSX Intermodal and the Maryland Port Administration are trying to negotiate an agreement that would triple the number of trains using the port of Baltimore's Seagirt rail yard beginning early next year.

CSX Intermodal Vice President Clarence W. Gooden said yesterday that the two sides have been negotiating and expect to meet on the issue again today. He said he doubted an agreement would be reached immediately.

CSX would like to close its Potomac Yard in Alexandria, Va., and run the two daily trains that now originate there out of Baltimore instead. "We don't need two terminals 45 miles apart," Mr. Gooden said.

CSX Intermodal, a division of CSX Corp., is the sole tenant at Seagirt under a long-term lease with the state. CSX runs one east-west train a day from Baltimore to Chicago. If Potomac Yard is closed, Seagirt would get two north-south trains, one of which goes to Atlanta and the other to Florida.

The state built the Seagirt rail terminal for about $27 million to improve the rail connection between Baltimore and the Midwestern markets. CSX is contemplating bringing to Seagirt trains that carry about 70 percent domestic traffic and 30 percent international traffic, according to CSX.

While north-south trains would probably not help the port's penetration of Midwestern markets, they could mean more work for the members of the International Longshoremen's Association who handle the cargo at the rail terminal.

An agreement also would help CSX by increasing its volume at Seagirt. Higher volumes should allow CSX to reduce the unit cost of moving an international cargo container or domestic trailer through the terminal.

J. C. Shay, a spokesman for the MPA, said negotiations with CSX were continuing but declined to comment further.

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