Posts Tagged ‘Indiana’

Indiana Short Line Gets $10M TIGER Grant

March 9, 2018

A federal TIGER grant of $10 million has been awarded to a railroad bridge project in southwest Indiana.

The grant will be used to rebuild the approaches to a bridge over the Maunie River in Posey County that is used by the Evansville Western Railway.

The grant application said the timber supports for the approaches are in “dire need of replacement.”

The bridge is on the former Louisville & Nashville line that connected Evansville, Indiana, with St. Louis.

The bridge was built in 1926. The E&W serves farmers, refiners, coal miners, and river ports.


Indy Light Rail Ban Repeal Appears to be Dead

March 7, 2018

The effort in the Indiana General Assembly to repeal a law that prohibits development of a light rail system in Greater Indianapolis has a hit a chuckhole.

A suburban senator who opposes light rail in the region has introduced an amendment to the legislation that would repeal the 2014 light rail ban to water it down.

Mike Delph of Carmel wants to require Indianapolis officials to prove that public transit money isn’t needed to fill potholes.

Specifically, his amendment would prohibit spending money on a light rail project until officials have “substantially remedied the pothole problem” and developed and implemented an “acceptable written plan” to remedy potholes during future winter seasons.

Some news media reports have said the amendment has been the bill’s death knell.

The Senate sponsor of the light rail repeal bill declined to bring the legislation to the Senate floor on Monday, the deadline for the chamber to consider legislation.

The bill’s House sponsor said he might seek to revive the bill later in the session, but the prospects for that are uncertain.

The bill had passed the House 95-0. Backers have said repealing the light rail ban is necessarily to try to entice Amazon to locate its second headquarters in Indianapolis.

The city is on a list of 20 finalists for the second headquarters. Amazon has said that public transit will be a factor in its decision as to where to locate the headquarters.

South Shore Gets into Car Storage Business

February 27, 2018

The Chicago South Shore & South Bend is looking to capture a greater share of the car storage market and is using its connections in Chicago to get it.

The South Shore said it will store empty or loaded freight cars, a service it said is the result of investments in track capacity.

The Michigan City, Indiana, carrier cited its connections with six Class 1 railroads and several regional and switching lines.

“The need for railcar storage capacity located close to Chicago fluctuates based on ebbs and flows of storage space in the industry,” said CSS President Todd Bjornstad. “We are offering this because we believe South Shore’s easy access to multiple Chicago railroads gives third-party customers a chance to take advantage of our strategic location.”

Since January, CSS has offered interchange service daily except Saturday with short- or long-term rates – daily, weekly, monthly, or annually – based on how long cars might sit in storage.

Bjornstad said shippers and railroads require temporary car storage for a variety of reasons.

“In some cases, car-leasing companies have equipment coming off lease for which new lessees have not been secured. Or, some customer-owned fleets might require off-site storage during a plant’s scheduled maintenance outage.”

Ports of Indiana Cargo up 5% in 2017

February 15, 2018

The Ports of Indiana reported this week that in 2017 it handled 11.8 million tons in 2017, a 5 percent increase over 2016 and the second-highest annual shipment total in the organization’s 57-year history.

In a news release, the ports said it was the fourth consecutive year it has handled more than 10 million tons of cargo.

Among the major cargo category increases were minerals, up 28 percent; limestone, up 26 percent; steel, fertilizer and ethanol, each up 14 percent; and coal, up 9 percent.

Shipments of heavy lift and project cargoes, which includes such things as turbines, laboratory equipment and mega storage tanks, increased by 27 percent.

“The arrival of world-class companies like Metro Ports and POSCO Steel in 2017, combined with unprecedented shipping levels at Mount Vernon and the development of major expansions at Jeffersonville and Burns Harbor, have the Ports of Indiana well positioned to help drive long-term future growth of Indiana businesses and our state economy,” said CEO Rich Cooper in a statement.

South Shore Leases Track from CN in Gary

January 30, 2018

The Chicago South Shore & South Bend has leased five miles of track from Canadian National to enhance its interchange of traffic with the Class 1 carrier.

The track is located in Gary, Indiana, and will enable the South Shore to provide a higher frequency of service said the railroad’s owner, Anacostia Rail Holdings, in a news release.

“We see this as part of our longstanding commitment to customers by ensuring efficient interchange with all our Chicago-area connections,” said Eric Jakubowski, vice president and chief commercial officer for Anacostia Rail in a statement. “Gary has long been a great place for us to do business and this lease will make it possible for us to do an even better job.”

The South Shore has 127 routes miles between Chicago and South Bend, Indiana, and is one of six railroads operated by Anacostia.

Indiana May Repeal Light Rail Ban for Indianapolis

January 26, 2018

In an effort to woo a $5 billion Amazon headquarters, the Indiana General Assembly is moving to repeal a law banning light rail from the Indianapolis metropolitan area.

A House committee voted 11-1 this week in favor of legislation to repeal a 2014 law that bars state or local governments from spending money on light rail projects in the seven-county region surrounding Indianapolis.

The effort to repeal the law gained impetus when Amazon recently named Indianapolis one of 20 finalists for its second headquarters.

Also on the list are Chicago, Pittsburgh and Columbus. Cleveland applied for the headquarters but did not make the latest cut.

One of the criteria being used by Amazon to choose what is being termed HQ2 is good public transportation, including rail transportation.

Indianapolis has a bus system but not a rail transit system and there are no current plans to create one.

Amazon is headquartered in Seattle. Dozens of cities in the United States and Canada are eagerly seeking the Amazon headquarters because it promises to provide more than 50,000 jobs with average salaries of more than $100,000 annually.

“Transit is a very major factor for a lot of these major companies that are looking to move here,” said the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Justin Moed (D-Indianapolis).

The 2014 law banning light rail was rooted in a belief by fiscal conservatives that a light rail system would require a taxpayer bailout due to its high costs.

The conservative lawmakers demanded the light rail ban as the price for their support of a measure to allow Indiana counties to increase incomes taxes through referendum for public transit projects.

Ex-Monon Segment May Become Trail

January 10, 2018

The south end of the former Monon Railroad in Southern Indiana might become a trail.

Indiana Trail Funds has asked the U.S. Surface Transportation Board to order CSX to do nothing more to a 62-mile segment of the ex-Monon other than remove the rails, ties and signal systems.

CSX last month filed a letter of exemption with the STB to abandon the ex-Monon between milepost 251.7 (about midway between Bedford and Mitchell) and milepost 314 (Vernia) near New Albany.

In response to the Indiana Trail petition, CSX said it was willing to negotiate with the group for possible interim trail use/rail banking.

In a report to the STB, CSX said no trains have moved over the line for more than two years and its only activity has been car storage.

CSX said it was unlikely any rail-oriented businesses would locate on the line, which it said it does not need for operational purposes.

The line in question is the Hoosier Subdivision, which has been abandoned north of Bedford.

It is not clear why CSX is not seeking to abandon any track within Bedford. The only other railroad to serve Bedford, a branch of the former Milwaukee Road that extended to Terre Haute, Indiana, has been abandoned and converted into a trail.

If the abandonment of the Hoosier Subdivision is approved, Bedford would be cut off from the nation’s rail system.

The STB had in May 2010 gave CSX approval to cease providing rail service on the Hoosier Sub. It had been used under trackage rights granted to the Indiana Rail Road to reach Louisville, Kentucky, but that company has since ceased exercising those rights.

CSX would continue to own 3.7 miles of the ex-Monon in New Albany that connects to Norfolk Southern and the former Kentucky & Indiana Terminal.

In its report to the STB, CSX said its records show there are 21 railroad-owned structures on the line more that are more than 50 years old and may be eligible for listing on the National Register. All of them are bridges.

Records show the main track was rebuilt in the 1980s. At one time the Monon extended between Louisville and Chicago with branches to Michigan City, Indiana, and Indianapolis that diverged at the town of Monon.

CSX continues to use the ex-Monon between Cloverdale and Munster, Indiana. Amtrak’s Cardinal and Hoosier State use the line between Crawfordsville and Munster.

Indiana Short Lines Get New Managers

December 5, 2017

Two Indiana short line railroads owned by Anacostia Rail Holdings have new executives in the marketing and sales departments.

Kathleen Sackett is the new director of marketing and sales for the Louisville & Indiana Railroad while Matthew Coduti is now the manager of marketing and sales for the Chicago South Shore & South Bend Railroad.

Sackett has more than 16 years of rail sales and marketing experience, most recently with Wisconsin & Southern Railroad, where she began in 2008 as director of sales and marketing. She was named director of commercial in 2017.

Coduti is a former planner of maritime and raw material logistics at ArcelorMittal, where he worked for five years. He also has experience in planning and negotiating initiatives with rail, barge, port, truck and package services.

Indiana Short-Line Railroad Dispute Settled

December 2, 2017

Indiana short-line Chesapeake & Indiana will be able to end operations on 5.45 miles of track between North Judson and English Lake, Indiana.

The U.S. Surface Transportation Board this week formalized a settlement to a dispute over the track that had involved the C&I, track owner the town of North Judson, and the Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum.

The museum will be able to operate excursion trains between North Judson and English Lake outside STB jurisdiction without impeding the short line’s freight business.

The track in question is part of 28 miles that North Judson acquired in 2003 from CSX between North Judson and Wellsboro, Indiana.

The C&I began using the line for freight service in 2004. The short line is owned by the Indiana Boxcar Corporation.

The museum has argued that the C&I was not allowing excursion trains on the line in violation of the museum’s agreement with the town.

In response, C&I said that the museum had violated Federal Railroad Administration safety rules, and that the short line didn’t want to be held liable if passengers were injured.

Most of the C&I’s freight operations are on the northern end of the line, particularly to grain elevators at Malden and Union Mills that are owned by Co-Alliance LLP.

That business has grown from a few hundred carloads in 2004 to more than 4,000 so far this year.

The C&I expects more growth in 2018 when it begins delivering gypsum to a new wallboard factory. Some of the former Chesapeake & Ohio of Indiana track is used for car storage.

Under the agreement between the town of North Judson and the C&I, the short line will be able to operate over the ex-C&O rails for the next 10 years.

NS to Serve Indiana Coal Loading Facility

November 11, 2017

Norfolk Southern will serve an Indiana coal loading facility in southwestern Indiana.

NS will build a spur to the truck-to-rail coal loading facility of Sunrise Coal, a subsidiary of Hallador Energy.

The terminal is located 6 miles west of Princeton  and when completed next spring will primarily serve utility coal plants that NS serves.

The Princeton Loop will be capable of unloading trucks, blending coal, loading 135-car unit trains in four hours and storing more than 4 million tons of coal.

The coal comes from the Illinois Basin and is used by the electric power generation industry.