Norfolk Southern/CSX Acquisition

Location: Eastern United States

Client: Norfolk Southern Corp.

Burns & McDonnell was selected by Norfolk Southern (NS) to conduct various environmental studies related to its proposed joint acquisition, with CSX, of Conrail. The multivolume environmental report was submitted to and accepted by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (USDOT) Surface Transportation Board (STB), the federal regulatory agency responsible for approving the consolidation.

The effort required a large multidisciplinary team of environmental and engineering professionals analyzing various aspects of Norfolk Southern’s portion of the merger such as new rail constructions; abandonments; increases in rail traffic, truck traffic and activity at rail yards and intermodal facilities; and truck to rail diversions.

The studies addressed changes to the existing rail systems that would result after the three rail systems were combined. As part of the investigation, teams of Burns & McDonnell environmental specialists conducted field inspections of numerous proposed construction sites. Impacts on the area's human, natural and cultural resources were evaluated at each location. Rail lines for abandonment were also inspected to evaluate the potential for impacts from rail line removal.

Approximately 30,000 highway/railroad at-grade crossings were analyzed to determine the impact of the merger on public safety. The safety analysis utilized the Federal Railroad Administration’s (FRA) GX Crossing Data Maintenance System, FRA’s accident history records and the USDOT accident prediction formula to analyze the crossings to determine if a significant increase in train/vehicle collisions would occur. The project also included a study to determine the feasibility of upgrading warning devices and constructing grade separations.

  • Agency coordination
  • Environmental report
  • Alternatives evaluations
  • Rail construction analysis
  • Rail abandonment analysis
  • Noise modeling and analysis
  • Air emissions evaluation and analysis
  • Traffic analysis
  • Highway/railroad grade crossing safety analysis
  • Cultural resources analysis and aurveys
  • Site investigations