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Wheeling & Lake Erie Railway receives $25 million RRIF loan for 286k-related trackwork


Last week, the Wheeling & Lake Erie Railway Co. (W&LE) became the seventh small road to obtain a Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing (RRIF) loan since the federal program was launched in 2001.

The U.S. Department of Transportation and Federal Railroad Administration issued the $25 million loan, which W&LE plans to use to help pay for rehabilitating 315 track miles and replacing more than 168,000 ties. The track improvements will enable the 840-mile regional to handle 286,000-pound rail cars on some of its Ohio lines.

"Jointed rail will be replaced by continuous-welded rail on key portions of track, leading to fewer derailments and faster shipping times," said Assistant Transportation Secretary Emil Frankel in a prepared statement.

W&LE operates lines in Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Maryland, interchanges with three Class Is and 14 short lines, and moves coal, stone, iron ore and steel.

Created through the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century, RRIF authorizes the FRA to provide $3.5 billion in direct loans or loan guarantees to eligible railroads (including $1 billion set aside for regionals and short lines), state and local governments, and government-sponsored authorities to acquire, develop, improve or rehabilitate intermodal or rail facilities.