Railroad set for SW Indiana expansion project

A railroad is about to start work on a $65 million project to expand its main yard in southwestern Indiana and build a new rail spur to handle more coal from a nearby mine.

Indiana Rail Road Co. officials are to join state and local officials in a groundbreaking ceremony Monday for the project at its Hiawatha Yard near Jasonville.

Company President Thomas Hoback told the Greene County Daily World that he expected the business for the Indianapolis-based railroad to grow 50 percent in the next five years with commitments to haul about 70 percent of the coal taken from Peabody Coal Co.'s new Bear Run Mine near Dugger.

The railroad's project includes building a new locomotive maintenance shop, parts and storage warehouses, an office building and about 4,000 feet of new track at the Jasonville yard. It will also allow the yard to handle modern 140-car coal trains that are longer than 1-1/2 miles.

Company spokesman Chris Rund said expanding the Jasonville yard, about 25 miles south of Terre Haute, is critical to its future.

"It's the hub of the wheel and will allow the company to modernize its facility and grow the number of local employees," he said.

The company operates about 500 miles of track in central and southern Indiana and central Illinois and has about 200 employees.

The expansion includes a $17.5 million project to build a new five-mile rail spur into Bear Run Mine.

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