Reporting Alex DeMetrick
ELKRIDGE, Md. (WJZ)—A major change in the way cargo is moved through Baltimore’s port is generating anxiety for hundreds of homeowners.
Alex DeMetrick reports the worry is an immense new rail hub could be coming to their backyards.
Inside Baltimore’s Museum of Industry, it was invitation-only for an awards ceremony honoring the CEO of rail freight giant CSX. But as close as homeowners from Elkridge and Hanover could get was outside the gate. They were there because they don’t want CSX too close to their homes.
“We don’t want to see this facility go in behind our homes,” said Linda Hammil, homeowner. “It’s going to totally destroy our way of life.”
The Elkridge site is one of four locations CSX and the state are considering for a new intermodal site. It’s all because the Panama Canal is being widened to accommodate larger ships which will carry more cargo.
To get it in and out of Baltimore’s port, CSX will double stack containers. But tunnels aren’t high enough, so a new transfer hub is needed south of town.
“They’re going to have 100 foot tall cranes, 100 foot tall light towers, and those trains will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year,” said Mitch Buchman, homeowner.
And trucks–up to 900 a day– will come and go to the new rail hub.
“It’s going to devalue our property significantly,” said Bernie Trenary, homeowner. “I’m sure it will devalue our properties.”
CSX says a final site has yet to be determined.
“We are aware of the concerns of the communities,” said CSX spokesman Bob Sullivan. “We are engaged with those communities. We are meeting all legal and ethical obligations as we go forward.”
“The railroad has said there are four sites being evaluated, but they’ve only purchased property and options going behind where our houses are,” Buchman said.
And if true, that 70, mostly empty acres next door, could become one very noisy neighbor.
Not all four sites are near residential neighborhoods. Worried homeowners are urging CSX to locate the near rail facility in Jessup, near the state prison.