The Indianapolis-based railroad will spend $17 million initially on a new 5.2-mile spur and another $5 million later in other improvements to accommodate increased rail traffic volumes. The spur should be completed by early 2010, pending Surface Transportation Board approval.
"We project that it will increase our current coal transportation volumes by more than 30 percent," Hoback said.
Officials say Peabody could invest $350 million to $400 million on the mine, the largest surface coal mine in the eastern United States. The mine could eventually produce 8 million tons of coal annually and employ 350 people.
"Peabody's investment is one of the most significant industrial developments in Indiana in this decade," Hoback said.
Privately held Indiana Railroad operates on a 500-mile system in Indiana and Illinois.