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2/4/2008



Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

FRA provides another RRIF loan, surpasses another track inspection milestone


The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has issued its second Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing (RRIF) program loan in 2008. Last week, the administration announced the Nashville and Eastern Railroad Corp. (NERR) will receive a $4.6 million RRIF loan.

NERR will use proceeds to purchase 50 new triple-hopper rail cars and two rehabilitated locomotives. The 110-mile short line will use 25 of the cars and the locomotives to serve a new customer, Lojac Minerals. NERR will move sand from Lojac's Monterey, Tenn., mine to manufacturing facilities in Lebanon and Hermitage, Tenn.

Lojac, which produces concrete, concrete blocks and other building materials, previously hauled sand by truck. NERR will use the other 25 hoppers to accommodate anticipated traffic increases.

Last month, the FRA issued a $3 million RRIF loan to the Columbia Basin Railroad Co. Under the RRIF program, the FRA is authorized to provide $35 billion (including $7 billion set aside for regionals and short lines) in direct loans or loan guarantees to eligible railroads, state and local governments, and government-sponsored authorities to acquire, develop, improve or rehabilitate intermodal or rail facilities.

Meanwhile, the FRA also announced its Automated Track Inspection Program has surpassed the 1-million-mile mark. Under the program, custom-built inspection vehicles equipped with state-of-the-art detection technology are used to help identify rail flaws. The vehicles measure track geometry and analyze a rail's surface. The program, which began in 1976, now includes five vehicles.


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