Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) railway and CSX Corp. are joining forces to create a high-volume rail intermodal corridor connecting California, Atlanta and the rest of the Southeast region.

John Lanigan, executive vp & chief marketing officer for BNSF, said the planned service will initially include two intermodal trains each day between the West Coast and the Southeast in each direction. Corridor volume on the line is expected to grow along with the expansion of the West Coast to Southeast intermodal market, he added.

To support the planned service, BNSF will expand capacity on its rail lines connecting Avard, OK, Memphis, TN, and Birmingham, AL, while CSX will expand its rail line between Birmingham and Atlanta, as well as its intermodal terminal in Fairburn, GA, near Atlanta.

“This agreement enables CSX to provide more seamless and reliable service to our intermodal customers,” said Clarence Gooden, executive vp of sales & marketing. “It also complements CSX Transportation's ongoing capacity expansions in our Southeastern markets and positions us to handle additional intermodal freight as import and domestic demand continue to rise.”

The partnership expands on the terms of an agreement signed in 2001 that would have expired in 2007, added Gooden. “We anticipate that the new service will begin in early 2007, with the initial capacity projects, consisting primarily of sidings and terminal expansion, to be completed by the end of that year,” he noted.