Ohio, Texas lead recipients of federal Consolidated Rail Infrastructure grants

50 recipients in 29 states include improvements for Southwest Chief route in New Mexico, funding to develop railcar tracking system
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Southwest Chief passengers prepare to board the train in Las Vegas, N.M. The Chief's route in New Mexico is one of the recipients of CRISI grants announced Wednesday.
Bob Johnston

Ohio received funding for six projects and Texas for five as part of the 50 projects receiving a total of $320.6 million in grant funding under the Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements program announced today by the Federal Railroad Administration. Projects in 29 states will receive funding.

Several grant recipients have been previously been announced by local politicians in the areas receiving funding. Notable among previously unannounced projects are $5.6 million for the latest round of improvements to the route of Amtrak’s Southwest Chief in New Mexico; $7.9 million to Pennsylvania to develop a GPS tracking system for freight cars; and $5.6 million for a double-tracking project for Orlando’s SunRail.

Rural projects, which must receive at least 25% of the CRISI funding, received 60% of this year’s awards. Thirty-two of the 50 projects are located in Opportunity Zones, which were created to aid economically distressed communities. The CRISI program is part of the FAST Act surface transportation bill passed in 2015. That act expires this year, although it would be extended for another year under the continuing resolution introduced in the House of Representatives which would continue to fund the government through Dec. 11.

Projects not previously reported by Trains News Wire are:

Alaska — $4.1 million to replace a timber bridge on the Alaska Railroad over the Trail River, approximately 23 miles north of Seward, Ak. The new bridge will be able to handle industry-standard 286,000-pound railcars and double-stack container equipment.

Arkansas — $3.4 million for upgrades to the Louisiana & Northwest Railroad’s McNeil Subdivision, including 9.4 miles of rail, 7,800 crossties, 17 miles of track surfacing, and three new sidings.

California — $2.2 million for grade crossing improvements at the intersection of J Street and Prosperity Avenue in Tulare, Calif.

Florida — $5.6 million to double-track 1.7 miles of the Central Florida Rail Corridor owned by the state and used by commuter railroad SunRail, including grade crossing improvements and positive train control; $2.3 million for grade crossing improvements — pavement markings, signage, and repaving — on 13 CSX and South Central Florida Express grade crossings in rural portions of St. Lucie and Palm Beach counties.

Idaho — $7.5 million for expanding the Eastern Idaho Railroad’s Guilar Yard in Rupert, Idaho, by extending the yard track and adding a new track to relocate switching that currently blocks a state highway. It also includes rail replacement and crossing upgrades.

Indiana — $1.4 million to improve grade crossings in Nappanee, Ind., including installation of warning-time circuitry, roadway improvements, improvements at crossings that currently have low ground clearance, and safety and suicide outreach programs. These improvements will meet the requirements to establish a Quiet Zone.

Iowa — $5.5 million to replace the 118-year-old Iowa River Bridge on the Cedar Rapids & Iowa City Railway near Middle Amana, Iowa. The new bridge will increase flood clearance and allow use of 286,000-pound railcars $5.4 million for a safety training program for the Iowa Northern railway; $3.9 million to install 18.2 miles of 115-pound welded rail on the Iowa Northern in the north-central portion of the state.

The New Orleans & Gulf Coast has received an $8.3 million grant.

Louisiana — $8.2 million for improvements on the New Orleans & Gulf Coast Railway, including 24 miles owned by the railroad and 8 miles leased from Union Pacific, with work including double-tracking, bridge rehabilitation, tie replacement, and first-responded training; $3.9 million for improving 24 grade crossings along a 157-mile stretch of Kansas City Southern main line between Frierson and Starks, La. Crossing will receive warning-time systems, gates, flashing lights and motion detectors.

Maryland — $3.1 million to replace a hand-thrown switch with a power switch at Martin yard on the Northeast Corridor in Middle River, Md.; $2.5 million for rehabilitation of 1,960 feet of track and installation of a new turnout on state-owned trackage near Worton, on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.

Massachusetts — $1.8 million to replace the 103-year-old East Mountain Road Bridge on the Pioneer Valley Rail Line, as well as track improvements and resurfacing on either side of the bridge; $1.1 million for improvements at six grade crossings to create a quiet zone in Chelsea, Mass.

Missouri — $10.4 million for one grade-crossing separation, closure of eight grade crossings, and road realignment along the U.S. Route 60 and BNSF rail corridor in Webster County.

Nebraska — $4.5 million for work on the Nebraska, Kansas & Colorado Railway, including more than 42,00 ties, almost 16,000 tons of ballast, and track resurfacing of 106.6 miles of track to eliminate slow orders and allow 40-mph operation on most of the line.

New Hampshire — $4.6 million for four projects on the New Hampshire Northcoast Railroad, including installation of welded rail and associated work on 4 miles of track, installation of positive train control and cab signals on locomotives, upgrades to two grade crossings, and two new rail spurs.

New Mexico — $5.6 million for the latest round of upgrades to the route of the Southwest Chief over Raton Pass, including 12.4 miles of welded rail, 14,750 new ties, repairs to two bridges, rock scaling in three locations, and rebuilding of three grade crossings. Also, $1.3 million for engineering and environmental review for a proposed grade-separation overpass on the Union Pacific in Santa Teresa, N.M.

Oklahoma — $10 million for improvements on the Kiamichi Railroad including replacement of 23 miles of rail and 15 turnouts, reinforcement of 31 bridges, restoration of 13 miles of track, and upgrades to nearly three dozen grade crossings.

Oregon — $3.7 to rehabilitate an inactive 1-mile siding on the Union Pacific between Portland and Salem, Ore., to decrease delays to passenger and freight trains.

Pennsylvania — $7.9 million to develop an onboard GPS sensor system to provide real-time railcar movement information to shippers, car owners, and railroads; $900,000 for improvements to the Delaware-Lackawanna Railroad’s Green Ridge Yard and its junction with Norfolk Southern.

Tennessee — $2.2 million to repair the turning mechanism of the Cumberland River Bridge on the R.J. Corman Memphis Line in Clarksville, Tenn.

The Durango & Silverton will receive a grant to replace a bridge over the Animas River.
TRAINS: David Lassen

Texas — $8.4 million for the Blacklands Railroad to refurbish 13.7 miles of track, add three interchanges tracks with Union Pacific, and purchase equipment including locomotives, crew cars, and hi-rail vehicles; $2.3 million for replacement of a 100-year-old bridge on Austin Capital Metro’s East Division line; $2.2 million to improve the Texas, Gonzales and Northern Railway’s interchange with UP at Harwood, Texas, including track upgrades and a new siding; and $1.5 million for grade crossing improvements at the intersection of U.S. Highway 79 and Farm Road 1660 S in Hutto.

Washington — $1.4 million to add a 1-mile siding and automate two switches on the Puget Sound & Pacific Railroad at Elma, Wash.

Previously reported projects include:

Colorado — $1.9 million for replacement of a Durango & Silverton bridge on the Animas River; $548,000 for a Front Range Passenger rail study (reported here).

Florida — $16.4 million for the Boca Raton Brightline station (reported here).

Illinois — $10 million for work in the Springfield Rail Improvements Project (reported here).

Maine — Improvements on 75 miles of the Springfield Terminal (reported here).

Michigan  — $15.6 million for pedestrian crossing improvements between Dearborn and Kalamazoo (reported here). 

Minnesota and Wisconsin — $31.8 million for improvements allowing a second daily passenger train between Chicago and the Twin Cities (reported here).

Mississippi — $6.2 million for improvements on the Grenada Mississippi Railroad between Grenada and Canton, Miss. (reported here).

North Carolina — $47.6 million to acquire S-Line right-of-way from CSX (reported here); $13.2 million for improvements on the Aberdeen, Carolina & Western (reported here).

Ohio — Six projects totaling more than $13.9 million (reported here).

Texas — $242,000 to Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station for a study of rural grade crossings (reported here).

Virginia — $13.7 million for improvements on the Buckingham Branch Railroad (reported here).

Washington — $3.7 million for landslide mitigation on the Pacific Northwest Rail Corridor (reported here).


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