NB now averages 60 – 80 trains, per day, that pass through our town of about 3,500, on the CSX Mainline that runs from Chicago to ports on the East Coast. Of those trains, often more than 30 of the double stack container trains pass through the village, as they arrive or depart the 500 acre, $500 million railyard, which was recently expanded, as CSX added two more cranes, to total seven cranes. They also added several thousand feet of processing track. Many of these container trains can be nearly two miles long, and usually leave the yard very slowly, heading east bound, as they work to get up to speed. Trains going west bound into the yard also slow, often to a crawl, as they enter the yard.
With such heavy traffic at this “choke point”, CSX Dispatch often needs to stop multiple trains in succession, which can lead to trains blocking all five of the crossings in NB for as long as half an hour, sometimes longer. The North Baltimore “overpass” crossings include the I-75 bridge over the tracks about 2 miles east of town. In addition, in Galetea, just to the east of the interstate, there is another crossing, as well as an “interlocking” diamond, where north – south tracks intersect the east – west main lines. The “in-town” crossings are then, from the east, Poe Road (which was suggested as a possible location for an “under-pass” – by this writer), Tarr Street, Main Street, Second Street and Mitchell Road. CSX and the Wood County Port Authority built the overpass that is at Liberty High Road.
While all agreed that the blocked crossing in the village are a safety concern, officials said that addressing the issue could take many years and several million dollars. Similar projects have been completed in recent years include the overpass on Liberty Hi Road and two others in Fostoria, ranging anywhere from $8.5 million to $15 million. The lead time on completing the projects can sometimes be upwards of a decade, according to officials. Although the Liberty High Overpass and the State Route 18 around North Baltimore were two projects that happened very quickly, mostly to accommodate CSX.
The overall goal of another grade separation in North Baltimore has been added to the TMACOG 2045 Plan, meaning that a need is there, but that no funding is currently in place to begin examining the issue further.