The Surface Transportation Board has asked for more information before it will act on an application to upgrade a former Pennsylvania Railroad route in Indiana for increased CSX freight traffic.
The project would improve the Louisville & Indiana route between Indianapolis and Louisville, Ky., to accommodate additional CSX overhead traffic.
Last June CSX asked the STB for a perpetual, non-exclusive operating easement over the L&I, which formerly was part of a PRR route that stretched from Chicago to Louisville. Most of this route was abandoned north of Indianapolis during the early Conrail era.
The STB has requested additional information because, it said, the CSX application did not adequately address all concerns of local governments and residents.
CSX was directed to conduct another environmental study to review those issues, most of which involved the effects of increased train traffic.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has voiced concerns about noise pollutionand the effect of additional train traffic on wildlife. Some local communities have worried about trains blocking access for emergency responders.
“We don’t know of anything that would possibly stop the project. It’s just another step in the process,” said Louisville & Indiana President Mike Stolzman.
CSX plans to pay $10 million for the operating easement and provide up to $90 million in infrastructure upgrades that would enable the 286,000 pound freight cars to use the line and for trains to operate at top speeds of 60 mph.
The track work would involve replacement of a bridge near milepost 40 at Columbus, Ind., and the laying of continuous welded rail. Additional passing sidings would be added to the route.
CSX expects to send 10-12 trains a day over the L&I, all of which would be diverted from other Midwest CSX routes.