Rail Freight Services
Rail freight is one of many key elements of a balanced transportation network for the future. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) estimates Maryland will experience an 80 percent growth in freight movement by 2020. Maryland's economic competitiveness in the nation depends upon a system that can effectively handle growing volumes of freight, and seamlessly link all modes (highway, rail, marine, and aviation) while coexisting with automobiles, transit bus and rail, and other mass and personal transportation. Unresolved congestion can add significantly to the cost of goods produced and consumed, degrade air quality, increase greenhouse gases, decrease employee productivity, and adversely impact tourism. Maryland is planning now for solutions for the future.
Rail freight is overseen by the Office of Freight Logistics (OFL) within the Maryland Department of Transportation. OFL serves multiple functions critical to Maryland’s well-being and overall economic competitiveness. Working in tandem with Maryland's Department of Business and Economic Development (DBED), interstate, statewide, regional and local rail freight needs are defined, protected, and enhanced. Meaningful programs have been implemented to keep Maryland competitive including a Maryland Railroad Siding initiative, and 286,000 pound line upgrades to key State-owned line segments in rural areas. In addition, OFL supports freight projects in the Port of Baltimore, rural, and metropolitan areas; coexistence of MARC commuter service along rail freight lines owned by major railroads; and balanced use of each mode, which in turn enhances our national and global competitiveness.
OFL also serves as the primary freight consultative resource for the Secretary of Transportation and each modal administration. OFL serves on numerous statewide and national transportation committees, advisory boards, and panels with the objective of protecting and enhancing the benefits of rail freight. The office also maintains strong working relationships and manages statewide issues with CSXT and Norfolk Southern Railroad, several shortline railroads, and the 160 miles of state rail right-of-way. Additionally, we plan to continue our selective rural rail enhancement programs, as funding permits, which are designed to support rail users and keep the rural counties viable and economically competitive.
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