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Rail News: Short Lines & Regionals

Indiana Rail Road set to spend a record amount of MOW dollars to handle increasing traffic

The Indiana Rail Road Co. (IRR) expects traffic volume to increase more than 15 percent this year, so the 155-mile short line plans to spend more on maintenance-of-way projects to improve its network — a record-setting amount. IRR has budgeted $6.5 million for 2004 capital expenditures compared with $5.7 million last year.

The short line plans to reconstruct, improve and add track, upgrade technology and expand yards, as well as obtain four GP38-2 2,000-horsepower locomotives equipped with dynamic brakes to increase train speed and improve efficiency.

"Carloadings have surpassed the 100,00 mark … [which has] presented us with operating challenges and opportunities that we'll be addressing with our capital plan," said IRR President and Chief Executive Officer Tom Hoback in a prepared statement.

IRR expects to install 7.5 track miles of continuous-welded rail between Bloomington and Solsberry, Ind., to support train speeds up to 40 mph; replace 15,000 wood ties; surface 35 track miles; lay 5,000 tons of ballast; rehabilitate a 7,200-foot passing track in Linton and Bloomington, Ind.; and expand its Palestine, Ill., and Indianapolis yards. The short line will construct seven tracks in Palestine to increase the yard's capacity to 325 cars.

"Linton is a focus for us this year," said Hoback. "We'll be doing some substantial track reconstruction and signaling work to improve train movement and enhance public safety."

The short line also plans to add AEI readers and onboard computers to trains to manage workflow and provide real-time car tracing; install a radio transmission tower new Switz City to improve communications; and install a new interlocker in Sullivan, Ind., to increase train speed.

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More News from 2/13/2004