CSX opens new state of the art rail terminal in Winter Haven while some controversy remains

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. - The railroad giant CSX opened its new, high-tech rail hub Wednesday that has been years in the making for Winter Haven.

While company officials say the new terminal will deliver goods faster and more efficiently, some residents aren't too fond of their new neighbors.

"You can't sleep," said Eldon Tipper, who lives right next to the terminal. "It is so loud. It's an industrial operation."

Tipper has been a vocal opponent of the terminal since CSX first brought the concept to the city.

He said starting between 1 and 2 a.m. each day, he awakes to the sound of metal clanking, horns beeping and rail cars slamming to the ground.

The state of the art terminal is called the Central Florida Intermodal Logistics Center.

It consists of three massive electric cranes that tower over some of the homes. They're used to pick up and move rail cars to transport freight around the state faster.

The company said there's nothing like it in the country.

"They're very environmentally friendly and they're very quiet compared to other facilities like this around the country," said Bob O'Malley, who works in community affairs for CSX.

The rail giant said it did its part by buying up several of the homes right next to the terminal.

Tipper said CSX made an offer to buy his home, too, but he refused, saying it was too low.

"Some of the paperwork I had to sign said that I can never sue them, but they can sue me. I don't agree with that and I don't agree with giving up my rights like that," Tipper said.

He and others in the area also fear the new terminal will mean more train traffic.

O'Malley said locals will only notice an additional four trains -- two coming and two going every day.

"It combines the long haul fuel efficiency of freight rail with the door to door flexibility of trucks," he said of the new logistics center.

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