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Rail News: BNSF Railway

Intermodal container yard coming to northern Illinois short line

A number of local officials and railroad representatives gathered to mark the intermodal center's groundbreaking.
Photo – City of Rochelle


The city of Rochelle and Greater Rochelle Economic Development Corp. (GREDCO) held a groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday for a new intermodal container yard in the heart of the northern Illinois city’s industrial park.

The Rochelle Intermodal Transload Center (RITC) will served by the City of Rochelle Railroad, which is owned by the city and interchanges with BNSF Railway Co. and Union Pacific Railroad. Intermodal service is slated to begin as early as spring 2023.

The project includes paving an entrance to the RITC, constructing an 1,100-by-60-foot concrete lift pad and building an intermodal container yard adjacent to an existing transload center. The container yard will be operated by the Burlington Junction Railway (BJRY), which is based in Burlington, Iowa. The city, GREDCO and BJRY are collaborating on the project.

The RITC will be located at the intersections of Interstates 88 and 39, about 75 miles east of the Quad Cities and 70 miles west of Chicago. In addition to accommodating intermodal services, the center will handle various freight, including dry bulk, liquid bulk, dimensional, oversize, machinery, metals and other commodities and products.

“The Union Pacific Global III Intermodal facility abruptly idled in 2019, leaving local industries with increased transportation costs and shipping delays. [This] facility ... will serve as a cost-effective alternative to moving freight through the heavily-congested transportation corridors in Chicago,” said Rochelle Mayor John Bearrows in a press release.

The RITC is expected to help reduce truck traffic, cut drayage costs and generate revenue for the city.

“The addition of intermodal services on the City of Rochelle Railroad will act as a giant economic development engine that will attract industries that are looking for alternative ways to control the ever-increasing costs associated with moving freight,” said Jason Anderson, the city’s economic development director.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 11/11/2022