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The Bison Intermodel

The Bison Intermodel is one of Norfolk Southern’s larger Railway/Trucking Freight Facilities.  The facility was originally constructed over 25 years ago.  The original construction of concrete pavement withstood the test of time and this is the first major renovation to the facility.  Intermodel means two modes of transportation and the Bison Intermodel is a facility of approximately 3.2 million square feet.   Containers are unloaded from tractor-trailers for shipping on the specially designed railroad flat cars. Also, trucks are loaded for local delivery and locations not available to the railways. Large cranes capable of lifting the loaded freight containers travel parallel to the rail tracks on 2800’long PCC pavement Craneways to reach the flatcars. Parallel and on either side to the Craneways are 2800’long PCC Drop Pads that are used for placement and storage of containers during the loading and unloading of the trains. Containers are on average 53′ x 8′ x 9′ high and can weigh up to 75,000 pounds. The Intermodel has at least five scheduled trains per day and handles approximately 1200 units of containerized freight per week on average. Of those 1200 containers, over 1000 containers are loaded with freight and the remaining containers are being returned empty. The concrete has stood up to much usage over the years.

The Bison Intermodel Project consisted of removing and replacing the 25 year old existing PCC pavement craneways and storage pads, as well as removing the existing asphalt entry and departure lanes at the office/gatehouse. The decision to replace the asphalt areas with PCC pavement was due the ability of PCC pavement to withstand the constant braking and startup from the loaded tractor trailers as they enter and leave the Intermodel. The asphalt pavement was becoming heavily rutted and beginning to breakup. The cost of the upkeep of the asphalt lead to the change to PCC pavement. Other improvements included enlarging a PCC pavement dolly pad in the trailer storage lot to accomadate the new tractor trailers that have incresed in length since the construction of the Intermodel and inceasing the PCC pavement equipment pad; an area where the cranes and other equipment are stored and serviced. A recap of the major items for PCC pavements included: 1. 16″ PCC Craneways: 6330 SY 2. 10″ PCC Drop pads and Pavement at Entry/Exit: 25,730 SY 3. 8″ Dolly pad : 2440 SY This facility is an important hub in the network of Norfolk Southern Intermodels to distribute goods and materials around the country. Known as “piggy back” transportation, it was first developed in 1956. This method of shipping has grown from three (3) million trailers and containers in 1980 to a projected sixteen (16) million units by 2012 and has cut the costs of transportation of goods by 15% to 30%.