The federal government has approved a $100 million rail upgrade to a section of track between Indianapolis and Louisville, something that both CSX and the Louisville-Indiana Railroad have been anticipating for months.
The joint-use agreement calls for CSX to spend up to $90 million to install longer fused rail that will allow heavier trains to travel faster along the 106 mile section of track. Currently, train speeds on the L&I railroad are restricted. However, the upgrade will allow for heavier trains weighing near 286,000 pounds to travel as fast as 49 miles per hour in some areas.
L&I president John Goldman has stated the upgrade to the rails will bring the company up to industry standards, allowing L&I and CSX to better serve customers.
“This project enhances critical infrastructure that connects local customers to America’s freight transportation network, supporting local manufacturing, economic development, jobs and competitiveness,” stated Peter Gilbertson, chairman and CEO of Anacostia Rail Holdings, L&I Railroad’s parent company.
Residents living along the stretch of track to be upgraded can expect more trains, as many as 15 more per day in some areas such as Columbus, Greenwood and Franklin. Larger cities like Indianapolis and Louisville will be affected as well.
Columbus mayor Kristen Brown and Greenwood mayor Mark Myers have expressed concern that the increase in train traffic could pose a threat to public safety, including delaying ambulance, police or fire response times. Myers also traveled to Washington, D.C., to voice his concerns regarding many of the rail crossings in Greenwood lacking crossing arms.
As part of the federal government’s approval, mayors of cities and towns along the L&I line are expected to meet with CSX officials to address ways to mitigate concerns in the coming months. Officials have indicated previously that they would not pay for crossing arms, but would help to maintain them.
Source: WISH TV