Grenada Railroad re-opens for operation

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Grenada
Ed Ellis, fifth from left, attends a ribbon cutting ceremony for the grand re-opening of the Grenada Railway as the Grenada Railroad in Mississippi on Wednesday. Ellis is president of Iowa Pacific Holdings, which operates the railroad.
Pablo Diaz
GRENADA, Miss. – Officials from Iowa Pacific Holdings and the North Central Mississippi Regional Railroad Authority held a ribbon cutting ceremony in Grenada Wednesday to mark Iowa Pacific’s takeover of the former Illinois Central main line through north central Mississippi. The Authority bought the 176-mile Grenada Railway line for $43 million from A&K Railroad Materials. The Authority contributed $30 million, provided by a State of Mississippi bond issue approved by the Mississippi Legislature in 2014. Iowa Pacific provided $13 million and will make lease payments that cover the state bond payments. It is operating the line as the Grenada Railroad.

The railroad consists of two segments: the Grenada Branch between milepost 403.0 near Southaven, Miss., and milepost 703.8 near Canton, Miss., a distance of about 175.4 route miles that once hosted IC passenger trains. There is also an 11.42-mile branch line from Water Valley Junction, the connection with the Grenada Branch, and Bruce Jct., Miss.

Iowa Pacific will tackle rehabilitation and reopening of a 90-mile stretch of track that was closed by the previous owner three years ago, cutting off north-south rail service from Grenada to Canton.

Iowa Pacific also announced plans to operate the Polar Express out of Batesville on selected dates from Nov. 20 through Dec. 27. Iowa Pacific expects 30,000 to 40,000 people to ride the Christmas-themed excursion train based on the classic children’s book and animated movie.

NEWSWIRETrains News Wire

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