Chesapeake & Indiana upgrades infrastructure

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Chesapeake & Indiana locomotives at the site of track-improvement work by the railroad.
Courtesy Chesapeake & Indiana Railroad

INDIANAPOLIS — Thanks to funding including an Indiana Industrial Rail Service Fund grant, the Chesapeake & Indiana Railroad is repairing and upgrading its infrastructure.

A total of $600,000 in improvements are planned, made possible in part by the $300,000 matching grant administered through the Indiana Department of Transportation. Work includes replacement of 4,800 ties, and later this fall, replacement of two timber bridges with culverts. The railroad will also add a siding at Thomaston, Ind., to facilitate interchange with Norfolk Southern.

The 33-mile short line serves La Porte, Porter, and Starke counties in northwest Indiana, moving millions of bushels of grain for the state’s largest grain co-op, Co-Alliance.

The railroad’s customers “continue to increase their rail usage with Co-Alliance at Union Mills and Malden handling more grain and fertilizer,” Powell Felix, president of the Indiana Boxcar Company, which owns the Chesapeak & Indiana, said in a news release. “This activity, in addition to new gypsum traffic for Georgia Pacific at Wheatfield being transloaded for rail to truck at Whitcomb Trucking Facility east of LaCross, represent significant reasons why these rail upgrades and improvements are needed — and will return value back the economic players in the region that use this crucial asset.”

State representatives Jim Pressel and Michael Aylesworth, who supported the railroad’s grant application, visited the site of the improvement work earlier this week.

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