Chesterton Tribune



Upgrades on RR line in Malden to enhance NWI grain shipment business

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State Reps. Michael Aylesworth 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.

Improvements 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 Transportation.

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.

“CKIN’s customers 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 crucial asset.”

CKIN operates and maintains the railroad under a 20-year agreement with the Town of North Judson, which owns the line.

The improvements are expected to be completed by this fall.


Posted 9/26/2018




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