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Railroad Project Compliments Grain Elevators

The Chesapeake and Indiana Railroad has been awarded a $300,000 grant from the Industrial Rail Service Fund administered by the Indiana Department of Transportation. The grant will be applied toward a $447,200 project to improve the rail line that is owned by the Town of North Judson. The project involves upgrading 6 miles of track between La Crosse and Thomaston as well as replacing a bridge on this same section. Performing this work will permit the C&I Railroad to continue to handle the heavy 286,000 pound rail cars that move grain and fertilizer. The $147,200 matching portion of the project will come from North Judson’s rail fund that is paid annually by the railroad based upon the traffic using the line as well as a direct funding investment by the C&I Railroad.

The track project compliments the investments being made by Co-Alliance, LLP to facilities at Union Mills and Malden. Last year saw Malden remove the aging concrete silos and replace them with new steel grain bins. Presently Union Mills is adding a new half million bushel grain bin along with higher capacity grain handling and drying systems. Co-Alliance is the largest customer for the C&I Railroad and the millions of dollars in facility improvements are based on the assurance of dependable rail service.

In 2004, the Town of North Judson used primarily state funds to purchase the rail line that extends from Union Mills to La Crosse and from North Judson to Malden. The line was saved from abandonment and the C&I began providing the freight service. Hoosier Valley Railroad operates excursion trains from its museum location in North Judson to English Lake and La Crosse. According to C&I president Powell Felix, this is a good example of how grant money from the INDOT program can be used to leverage additional private investment. The public – private investment partnership ultimately helps the agribusiness community by providing economical access to distant markets, the taxpayer by reducing wear and tear on area roads, and an environmentally friendly reduction to overall fuel usage, with a single rail car capable of handling 4 truckloads of freight.