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Indiana Rail Road creates scheduled service to retain large customer


Faced with losing one of its largest customers, The Indiana Rail Road Co. (IRR) created a new service "rather than arm-wrestle over rates for the same standard of service," according to the 155-mile short line's summer newsletter.

IRR now provides Indianapolis Power & Light Co. (IPL) "Express Service," under which the railroad schedules delivery of large coal volumes to improve transit time and reduce handling costs. Scheduling rail service instead of relying on a unit-train system enables IPL to ensure coal availability for loading, and the railroad to schedule crews and coordinate assets, IRR officials said.

Late last year, the short line relocated an interchange with Canadian Pacific Railway from Linton to less populous Jasonville, Ind., and dubbed the new location the Midland Subdivision. The short line built a wye connection from Jasonville to its mainline to keep shipments moving head-on and away from busy crossings.

IRR also obtained two higher-horsepower and more fuel-efficient SD-40-2 locomotives to provide turnaround service with one engineer (in 24-hour cycles) between Newton and Indianapolis. The changes save between two and four hours in each direction.

"We put our heads together and came up with a concept that will benefit all parties involved," said IRR Chief Operating Officer John Rickoff. "With these improvements to service … [we won] a long-term contract that allows us to continue making investments that will create further efficiencies and keep rates low for IPL."

Earlier this year, the short line also built a 6,000-foot siding at IPL's Indianapolis power plant to stage empty cars that can quickly depart after coal is delivered.

Next, IRR plans to upgrade the Express Service line's track, ties, ballast and drainage to support 40 mph train speeds, and construct a second connection track between the Midland Subdivision and CPR's mainline to enable trains to pass each other.

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More News from 9/9/2003