CHARLOTTE-With its business in Charlotte growing at a rapid clip, Norfolk Southern Corp. of Norfolk, VA is preparing conceptual designs for a $100 million, 500-acre intermodal terminal near Charlotte/Douglas International Airport. The terminal would be on a site immediately adjacent to the airport but would not become operational before 2003.

Building the new facility would require roughly seven miles of new track. The airport would finance the project and then lease it back to Norfolk Southern, with no money coming from taxpayers.

Charlotte has long been one of the premier distribution centers on the Eastern Seaboard. A new intermodal terminal would likely increase Charlotte’s prestige and prominence in the distribution business, industry sources say in published reports. Should the plan jell, Charlotte/Douglas would become a major hub in a Southeastern transportation center. The terminal would provide access to a major airport, three interstates and main-line rail service. There would also be rail service to Charleston, SC, one of the top three container ports on the East Coast.

Norfolk Southern currently has an intermodal yard off North Tryon Street, a site that can’t be expanded. This yard is too small to handle the freight and traffic that Norfolk Southern would like to move through Charlotte. Jerry Orr, the airport’s aviation director, says in a published report, the new terminal would mean that one location could offer all four modes of transportation. That would be attractive to high-tech manufacturing which relies heavily on fast transportation and quick access to major markets.

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