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Readying for busy future, CSX adds local jobs, optimism

Business Courier of Cincinnati

CSX Corp. relocated 47 jobs to Cincinnati from Jacksonville, Fla., in mid-October as it established a new dispatching center in Queensgate.

The new center has 32 dispatchers and 15 support staff to track all CSX trains on 1,100 miles of rail between Toledo; Nashville, Tenn.; Evansville, Ind.; and Washington, D.C. The company is decentralizing its dispatching operations as it braces for a predicted increase in freight traffic nationwide.

"It's something we're doing all around the system," said spokesman Bob Sullivan.

CSX is working on an $842 million upgrade to its rail system in Ohio, Pennsylvania and along the mid-Atlantic coast. Its National Gateway project includes the construction of an intermodal hub near Toledo that would enable train traffic from the West Coast to bypass Chicago. The new hub in North Baltimore is expected to boost freight traffic on a CSX line that runs parallel to Interstate 75 between Toledo and Cincinnati.

"The fact that they're increasing jobs here at a time when everyone knows that freight traffic is going to increase incredibly over the next decade confirms that this region and Ohio are very important to their business plan," said Mark Policinski, executive director of the OKI Regional Council of Governments.

OKI's freight working group has been plan­ning rail improve­ments to increase Cincinnati freight traffic. The region's two major rail yards are operating under capacity. One OKI report indicates the Gest Street yard in Queensgate can handle nearly three times its current volume, while a yard in Sharonville is only 10 percent full.

In addition to supporting the CSX National Gateway project, OKI last year committed $1 million to a pair of bridge projects in Butler County. That's part of a plan to enable double-stack shipments of freight between Cincinnati and Columbus, where Norfolk Southern opened the $69 million Rickenbacker Intermodal Facility in 2008.

"Our ability to move goods is going to be very important to our ability to compete in the world economy," Policinski said. "It's rolling commerce." | (513) 337-9438