sworth and Jim Pressel toured the Chesapeake and Indiana Railroad (CKIN)
on Tuesday near Thomaston and Hanna in LaPorte County to view firsthand the
work in progress to repair and upgrade the rail line that is used to move
millions of bushels of grain grown in Northwest Indiana to major markets.
currently under way include the installation of 4,800 new railroad ties and,
later this fall, work will begin to replace two timber bridges with
culverts. In addition, CKIN will also expand capacity for more traffic by
installing a new mile-long siding at Thomaston, which will better handle
CKIN’s growing business with Norfolk Southern.
The improvements to
the railroad are made possible, in part, by a $300,000 matching Industrial
Rail Service Fund grant which will contribute to a total of $600,000 in
improvements planned for the CKIN railroad, which spans across Union Mills,
LaCrosse and--in Morgan Township, Porter County--Malden.
CKIN moves grain
from Northwest Indiana to major U.S. markets for Co-Alliance--the largest
grain co-op in the state--and “this business is critical to the agricultural
communities in LaPorte, Porter, and Starke counties,” according to a
statement released by CKIN. Aylesoworth and Pressel--whose districts are
both touched by the railroad line--each provided a letter of support during
the grant process, administered through the Indiana Department of
In addition to the
grant funding, CKIN will also invest $300,000 and additional funding to
cover the cost of improvement for the bridges and culverts.
continue to increase their rail usage with Co-Alliance at Union Mills and
Malden handling more grain and fertilizer,” said Powell Felix, president of
the Indiana Boxcar Company, which owns CKIN. “This activity, in addition to
new gypsum traffic for Georgia Pacific at Wheatfield being transloaded for
rail to truck at Whitcomb Trucking Facility east of LaCross, represent
significant reasons why these rail upgrades and improvements are needed--and
will return value back to the economic players in the region that use this
CKIN operates and
maintains the railroad under a 20-year agreement with the Town of North
Judson, which owns the line.
are expected to be completed by this fall.