FRA Issues RRIF Loans to DM&E and R.J. Corman Railroad Group

WASHINGTON — The Federal Railroad Administration approved a Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing (RRIF) loan to a pair of short line railroads.

The FRA gave one grant to the Dakota, Minnesota & Eastern Railroad (DM&E) of $48.3 million to improve safety and service between Wall, South Dakota and Colony, Wyo.

Rail line improvements will be made to accommodate heavier freight cars that haul grains, ethanol, and minerals.

Specifically, 134 miles of track will be upgraded, including the replacement of 60 miles of rail between Wall and Owanka, and from Whitewood to the SD-WY state line. Major bridge repairs will occur between Wasta and Owanka and near Belle Fourche, as well as the replacement of 55 track switches, the installation of 84,000 new cross ties, and the construction of a 1.5 mile siding at Midland.

In addition, 93 highway-rail grade crossings will be resurfaced to provide a safer and smoother ride for roadway motorists. FRA evaluated this loan separately and independently from another, larger DM&E RRIF loan application that was recently denied by the agency.

Also, FRA approved a RRIF loan of $58.9 million to the R.J. Corman Railroad Group, which operates eight short line railroads in Kentucky, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Tennessee. The loan will be used to rehabilitate 24 locomotives to increase fuel efficiency, reduce diesel emissions, and improve service reliability.

In addition, the railroad will purchase 200 new center-beam flat cars to move heavy materials and acquire 100 new hopper cars to transport coal. Also, a portion of the loan will be used to refinance existing debt incurred for the purchase of railroad property, facilities, rail cars, and heavy maintenance equipment.

Most of the company’s railroads are the sole provider of rail service to their customers such as industrial manufacturers and distributors of raw materials.

— Special to News Wire