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Grant to link Kiski Junction Railroad with Rosebud's Logansport Mine

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Friday, May 21, 2010

An extension of the Kiski Junction Railroad to serve Rosebud Mining Co.'s Logansport Mine could become reality by the end of the year.

Thanks in part to a $4.3 million state grant and completion of the permitting process, work is progressing on a nine-mile spur that will connect the railroad's base in Gilpin's Schenley neighborhood to the coal mine in Bethel. Both the mine and railroad are owned by Cliff Forest, but the two companies operate independently.

Jim Barker, a vice president at Rosebud and the railroad's financial controller, said the railroad will be recommissioning former Conrail tracks that run along the Allegheny River. The rail bed needs to be regraded and new tracks installed.

The state has granted a total of about $8.3 million through PennDOT's Rail Freight Capital Budget/Transportation Assistance Program. Barker said the state money will fund at least half of the project.

The rail spur primarily will serve the Logansport mine, where Rosebud produces about 750,000 tons of bituminous coal annually.

The availability of rail transportation is expected to decrease truck traffic to the mine and increase job opportunities, Barker has said.

Barker said the potential exists to someday serve the industrial district in Ford City. The current rail project will end just south of Crooked Creek, about two miles shy of Ford City.

"There's not an immediate customer for rail service, but I would think the marketability is there," Barker said.

Should a Ford City business wish to gain rail service, Barker said the cost of extending the line to the borough would be much less substantial.

The Kiski Junction Railroad primarily hauls scrap metal along the Kiski River for Allegheny Ludlum's Bagdad plant in Gilpin. The railroad occasionally works with Armstrong Terminals in the Schenley Industrial Park, too.

Kiski Junction also offers season tourist trips, including popular fall foliage tours.

Additional Information:

Workin' on the railroad(s)

Kiski Junction Railroad received the largest grant of the 11 recent recipients from PennDOT's Rail Freight Capital Budget/Transportation Assistance Program.

Other regional awards included $1.4 million to the Verona-based Allegheny Valley Railroad to improve tracks and $600,000 to the Westmoreland County Industrial Development Corp. to replace a wooden trestle bridge.

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