• Howard Street Tunnel Baltimore

  • Discussion of the operations of CSX Transportation, from 1980 to the present. Official site can be found here: CSXT.COM.
Discussion of the operations of CSX Transportation, from 1980 to the present. Official site can be found here: CSXT.COM.

Moderator: MBTA F40PH-2C 1050

  by ExCon90
Forgot all about the WM--their trains went through the B&P Tunnel for years.
  by STrRedWolf
Apologies on bringing this old topic up, necroposting... but has CSX considered a double-stack capable tunnel from Locust Point to Seagrit? As much as I can see reconnecting CSX to the NEC in two places, I think there's more "bang for the buck" in a tunnel between the two areas. The NEC itself is rather busy with Amtrak, MARC, and NS traffic... and the Circle Tunnel (B&P replacement) would reroute traffic onto it.
  by SemperFidelis
I would imagine that is going to be very difficult. From what I've read on the tunnel, it is mere inches (less than 18 according to the book I have) between the roof of the tunnel and the foundations for the light rail line above. It is a somewhat greater, though still very minimal, distance between the floor of Howard Street and the roof of the Metro tunnel beneath it.

I am sure thier engineers know full well what they're talking about, but will be interesting to see just how they thread the needle on this one.
  by mmi16
Solving the Howard Street tunnel is not a matter of raising the roof. It is a matter of lowering the floor. At the present time the floor is already at sea level or slightly below. Heavy rains coupled with the poor storm drainage systems of the City of Baltimore end up with water over the top of the rail - even with the pumps that have been installed working full bore - water being pumped out of the tunnel needs someplace to go - being below sea level and not that far from the sea (Inner Harbor) makes disposing of the excess water difficult. Lowering the floor will make it just that much more difficult.

Without getting rail double stack capability the Port of Baltimore will be at a competitive disadvantage to the other East Coast ports.
  by SemperFidelis
I realize that the problem is lowering the floor, hence my mention of how close the floor was to the roof of the Baltimore Metro Line. If I can find the book that lists the exact distance between the Howard Street tunnel's floor and the roof of the Metro Tunnel I will put up another post on this topic to share that info. It was a very nice book I bought at the Streetcar Museum down there concerning the construction of the Light Rail line. I just wonder how much more height they need vs. how much space they have left to lower the floor.

I hadn't even thought of utilities, though I would imagine (with nothing more than imagination to back up my theory here) much of the relocation work was done incidentally when the light rail came through. Thank you for mentioning that.

Also, I had oerlooked the severe difficulties in regards to the water table and its proximity to the Harbor.

I hope CSX pulls this off. Right now that is THE biggest obstacle for the container port, although I don't know if the C&D Canal is large/deep enough to handle post Panamax vessels. That could be another obstacle as, if the canal isn't up to standards, Baltimore is a dead end port that adds expensive time to a journey. I will call the folks in charge of the canal tomorrow and check on that as I can't find info on line about it.

Edit: Post Panamax requires nearly 42 feet of depth, the C&D Canal is only 35. That will remain another obstacle for the port. Reminds me of season 2 of "The Wire" that mentioned dredging the of the canal as ann obstacle to growth many, many times?
  by roberttosh
I could be wrong but I'm guessing that CSX is more interested in having the ability to run full DS on the I-95 corridor between Jax/Atl/NC/SC on on the one hand and Phil/NJ/NE on the other vs being able to run DS to the port of Baltimore. They already have a pretty decent franchise running single stack in that lane and could see them taking a lot more trailers off the highways with DS economics.
  by mmi16
No matter the service lane - the Howard Street Tunnel is required to be able to accommodate 20 foot 2 inch double stacks - be if for through routes or serving the Port of Baltimore. The Virginia Avenue Tunnel rebuilding in DC, when completed, will permit operation of 20'2" stack which will directly benefit the port of Portsmouth with access to the Western terminals and interchanges.
  by mmi16
Mount Royal Station 1895

  by Jeff Smith

Government exception to fair-use:

Governor Larry Hogan, CSX CEO Michael Ward Confirm Commitment to Howard Street Tunnel Project

October 24, 2016
State of Maryland, MDOT Announce Plans for New FASTLANE Application

ANNAPOLIS, MD – Governor Larry Hogan and CSX Transportation Chairman & CEO Michael Ward today met onboard a CSX rail car and rode through the 121-year old Howard Street Tunnel in Baltimore. During the ride, both the governor and Chairman Ward reconfirmed their commitments to making necessary infrastructure adjustments to the tunnel to allow for double-stacked container trains to and from the Helen Delich Bentley Port of Baltimore.

At a media availability following the ride, Governor Hogan announced the state’s intention to reapply for the next round of federal FASTLANE funding to assist with the completion of this project.

“Allowing for double-stacked trains to travel through the Howard Street Tunnel won’t just transform the Port of Baltimore and dramatically increase production – it will create thousands of jobs and benefit the entire state. Our administration is committed to getting it done,” said Governor Hogan. “I thank Chairman Ward and the CSX team for their partnership as we work to secure the necessary funding to accomplish this vital infrastructure project.”

Height restrictions within CSX’s Howard Street Tunnel currently prevent the shipment of double-stacked intermodal containers (two shipping containers stacked on top of each other) by rail to and from the Port of Baltimore. This puts Baltimore at a competitive disadvantage as all other major East Coast ports have double-stack rail capacity.

For years, reconstruction of the Howard Street Tunnel to accommodate double-stack intermodal trains was believed to cost between $1 billion and $3 billion and be highly disruptive to the surrounding community. By utilizing recent advances in construction technology including a technique that involves lowering the floor and notching the crown of the tunnel, CSX and the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) have determined it is now possible to provide double-stack clearance in the tunnel and under the nine bridges for $425 million with minimal impact to the community. CSX and the state have committed a combined minimum of $270 million towards this effort and the state is seeking federal funds for the balance of the project cost.

“This transformational critical-infrastructure project will further position the Port and existing Maryland businesses for a bright future, as well as help attract new businesses to the State. Additionally, this project will create jobs while helping to make commutes safer and quicker and improving air quality,” said CSX Chairman & CEO Michael Ward. “CSX is very appreciative of the opportunity to partner with Governor Hogan, his administration and all of this project’s supporters to help accomplish this important objective.”

Earlier this year, MDOT applied to a U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) grant program called FASTLANE for federal funding to modify the existing tunnel and associated bridge clearances. The application was denied. As Governor Hogan announced today, the state has committed to reapplying for the next round of FASTLANE funding, which is expected to be announced in the coming months.

With its supersized cranes and deep container berth, the Port of Baltimore is one of only a few East Coast ports that can accommodate the biggest ships in the world. The Port’s next goal is to allow trains carrying containers to be double stacked which would increase port business and maintain and grow jobs. It is estimated this project would create about 500 construction jobs over a five-year period. Following the project completion, it is estimated about 3,000 jobs would be created as a result of increased business through the Port because of double-stacked capabilities. The Port of Baltimore would handle approximately 80,000 additional containers annually.

Combining both the public and private marine terminals, the Port of Baltimore saw 32.4 million tons of international cargo cross its docks last year, which was valued at approximately $51.1 billion. Baltimore is ranked as the top port among all U.S. ports for handling autos and light trucks, farm and construction machinery, imported gypsum, imported sugar, and imported aluminum. Overall Baltimore is ranked ninth for the total dollar value of cargo and 13th for cargo tonnage for all U.S. ports.

Business at the Port of Baltimore generates about 13,650 direct jobs, while more than 127,000 jobs in Maryland are linked to port activities. The Port is responsible for nearly $3 billion in personal wages and salary and $310 million in state and local tax revenues.
  by Jeff Smith
Missed it! I searched Howard St. thanks for pointing out the existing topic!
  by mmi16
Engineering contractors will begin taking test borings throughout the Howard Street Tunnel the week of December 5.
  by gpp111
With coal and oil business down, containerized traffic has growth opportunities. The Howard Street tunnel project is a worthy investment, supports the Port of Baltimore and allows CSX to run double stacks to Philadelphia and points north.

The Virginia Avenue project will be completed first in DC. I assume much of the double stacks that will run through there will be between the Port of Hampton Roads, through DC and to points west.