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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.

Comments (13)
  1. Bill Smith says:

    The Jessup property owned by the State of Maryland would cause the least bother to the neighbors. There are no houses within a quarter of a mile of it.

    The other locations all have homes nearby. For instance the proposed site in Prince Georges County has over 150 homes within a quarter of mile and has 6 houses on it.

  2. John Rice says:

    Makes me sick. INCREASE THE HEIGHT OF THE TUNNEL. Maryland was willing to throw funds at increasing the tunnel height to accommodate double stacks in 1995 and CSX denies offer. Then the national gateway project comes along with a boat load of government money and CSX is all in. Now instead of using the existing Seagirt Marine Terminal that has all the infrastructure required in place, no disruption to neighborhoods or additional strain on state or local infrastructure they want to create Seagirt Land Terminal at the Elkridge/Hanover Site. I can’t believe the experts think it’s best to construct all this additional infrastructure, disrupt and change neighborhoods for life, create more traffic and congestion on the roadways increase additional cost on state and local funds for infrastructure repairs instead of increasing the existing height of a tunnel to accommodate double stacked railway cars. The state, county and residents get the raw end of the deal for life if they decide to construct another facility to accommodate double stacks. CSX has just double their revenue for life at no cost, not a bad deal for CSX. Our public officials have to step up and do whats right for its residents and make decisions that are fiscally responsible.

  3. Robyn Winder says:

    The CSX spokesman says they are meeting all “legal and ethical obligations,” which implies CSX is doing the minimum required, which isn’t much and isn’t exactly the best PR message on the day your CEO is getting an award in part for how community-oriented he is. CSX: please get the message–your intermodal facility does not belong in any residential neighborhood. Intermodal sites are dirty, noisy, disruptive, destructive of communities. CSX, you CANNOT be a “good neighbor” if you put an intermodal site in any neighborhood.

  4. Doug says:

    They move the products you live by.
    You live basically in the city.
    What were you expecting at your front door?
    A duck farm ?
    You sound insane,complaining.
    Move out to the sticks, as if you could hack it.
    City slickers.
    Stand inside and watch Lucy reruns and chill.

  5. j says:

    Its amazing, everyone wants more jobs but no one wants them in their neighborhood.

  6. Mike H. says:

    WJZ, I suggest you contact our elected Federal representatives and see what THEY have to say about this. Might make an interesting story.

  7. DKUVA says:

    @J — there are no new jobs coming from this, just relocating from the report
    @ Doug — I don’t think you understand the situation. There are four potential sites, one of them (Jessup) has no neighbors but the state pen. There is no need to put it next to hundreds of houses when another nearby site is available.

  8. Bernie Trenary, Hanover, MD says:

    HERE WE GO AGAIN! People ANONYMOUSLY getting their “digs” in when they have either NOTHING at stake or SOMETHING to gain! Yes, YOU, “Doug” and “j”! If you have something INTELLIGENT or KNOWLEDGEABLE to say, whether it’s FOR or AGAINST the ICTF, you’re more than welcome, ESPECIALLY if you come out of hiding; otherwise, MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS! Now, where were we?!?

  9. Geoff says:

    For those who are not informed, this project will at most produce 40 jobs. And how many of those are actually new is yet to be determined. So I do not see why the 365 houses or roughly 1,000 people who live within a 1/4 of a mile (not to mention the 5000+ homes within 2 miles) should have to sacrifice their lives and the value of their homes to create 40 jobs when there are other sites like Jessup that will have no residential impact.

    1. Geoff says:

      oops. I meant 500 homes within 2 miles

  10. Paul S says:

    WJZ needs to do better fact checking. The event was not invitation-only, other residents could have attended, like I did. As an active member of the industrial community, like my neigbors I respectfully engaged CSX and state employees. They lisstened to me, and I to them, including the acceptance speech.

    This is not a NIMBY response by home owners in the burbs. We have legitamate concerns that CSX has not been a good neighbor in other regions. We haven’t seen legal or design details that show this facility should be sited and operated next to a residential neigborhood.

    We want CSX to do more than the minimum required by law; we expect them to act like a 21st century industrialist, not a 19th century start up.

  11. PJ B says:

    CSX and Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) are involved. It would be helpful and useful if they operated with transparency in this process. I do not hear either party speaking of the benefit to having the Intermodal site in someone’s backyard. It seems to be focused on the “minimal” impact that will occur. What is the Maryland State Government’s true position. They seem to be the silent partner in this situation. I am not an expert in this but I do not think that a private or public company can build a site and then require MDOT to build the road infrastructure after the fact. The State of Maryland is a full partner in this and must listen the the citizens voice. Place a referendum on a ballot or better yet the elected representatives should be available to the “listen” and act on the citizens request.

  12. williejoe says:

    Put it in Jessup with all the Licorce sticks & red neck truckers.

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