Franklin, Cumberland Cos. benefit from millions in state rail funding

14 December 2023- Today, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) announced the approval of 25 rail freight improvement projects that will enhance freight mobility while creating or sustaining nearly 300 jobs across Pennsylvania. These investments are aligned with Governor Shapiro’s commitment to improve Pennsylvania’s infrastructure and support economic growth, and build on last week’s announcements of new federal funding of over $140 million in Pennsylvania rail investments to support the expansion of passenger rail along the Keystone West corridor between Harrisburg and Pittsburgh.

“Expanding Pennsylvania’s rail freight network will support family-sustaining jobs and connect Pennsylvania communities to the global economy while bolstering local economic development,” said PennDOT Secretary Mike Carroll. “This is a historic moment to build out our infrastructure thanks to state and federal funding that will create opportunities for generations of Pennsylvanians to come – and the expansion of Pennsylvania’s efficient rail freight network and service will provide key mobility throughout 23 counties across the Commonwealth.” 

Pennsylvania has 65 operating railroads, which is more than any other state. PennDOT is committed to working with private rail operators and rail-served businesses to construct new rail lines and assist in maintaining and improving Pennsylvania’s roughly 5,600 miles of freight lines.

The State Transportation Commission voted to approve $42.5 million for the following projects through the Rail Transportation Assistance Program (RTAP) and the Rail Freight Assistance Program (RFAP).

Following is a list of the 25 approved rail freight projects with the state share. Highlighted are local beneficiaries of the state funding.

Allegheny County:

  • Allegheny Valley Railroad: $4.3 million to construct three yard tracks at Verona Yard using repurposed rail from the Brilliant Branch; and
  • Chelsea Building Products Inc: $699,000 to rehabilitate a rail siding and six at-grade crossings; and
  • Union Railroad: $2.1 million to replace approximately 15,000 ties in the classification and North Bessemer Yards; and
  • Wheeling and Lake Erie Railway: $837,000 to rehabilitate a 440-foot-long tunnel to improve safety and operations. 

Allegheny and Washington Counties:

  • Pittsburgh & Ohio Central Railroad: $1.7 million to rehabilitate approximately 11 miles of track on the Arden Subdivision by replacing rails, ties, and track surfacing.

Beaver County:

  • The Aliquippa & Ohio River Railroad Company: $1.4 million to rehabilitate approximately 11 miles of track by replacing ties and track surfacing.

Berks and McKean Counties:

  • 25 Caster Way Owner, LLC: $7.6 million to construct the Berks Waste and Rail Transfer Station which includes rail infrastructure and loading equipment.

 Bradford County:

  • R.J. Corman Railroad – Lehigh Line: $675,000 to rehabilitate approximately 4 miles of track on the Lehigh Subdivision with spot tie replacement and surfacing.

 Cambria and Clearfield Counties:

  • RJ Corman Railroad Company Pennsylvania Lines: $3 million to rehabilitate approximately 20 miles of track on the Cherry Tree Subdivision and Cresson Subdivision with spot tie replacement and surfacing. 

Chester County:

  • Cleveland-Cliffs – Brandywine Valley Railroad: $1.2 million to rehabilitate tracks and a rail scale in the Ritchey Yard; and
  • East Penn Railroad LLC: $626,000 to rehabilitate a 1,200-foot storage trackage, extend an 800-foot siding, and install an at-grade trail crossing on the Octoraro Branch. 

Crawford County:

  • Western New York & Pennsylvania Railroad: $682,000 to rehabilitate the Kerrtown Lead track by replacing rail and ties, surfacing, and improving three grade crossings. 

Cumberland County:

  • Ohio Blenders dba Alfagreen Supreme: $655,000 to construct a rail car storage track, turnout, and unloading pit at their Mount Holly Springs facility.

Dauphin County:

  • Cleveland-Cliffs Steelton: $1.4 million to rehabilitate multiple tracks by replacing ties and rail to improve safety and efficiency on the Steelton & Highspire Railroad.

Delaware County:

  • Eddystone Marine and Rail Terminal Company: $5 million to rehabilitate rail infrastructure on the loop track and construct 20 unloading car spots. 

Franklin County:

  • Franklin Storage: $2.1 million to construct nearly 1,700 feet of track, a turnout, and unloading dock for a new 360,000 square foot rail-served warehouse. 

Lackawanna and Monroe Counties:

  • Delaware-Lackawanna Railroad: $1.1 million to rehabilitate 3 bridges and a culvert on the Pocono Mainline. 

Lancaster County:

  • M. Simon Zook Co. dba Golden Barrel: $904,000 to rehabilitate a rail siding, a rail scale and construct an unloading pit and additional track. 

Lycoming County:

  • Keystone Filler: $84,000 to rehabilitate siding trackage, relocate a rail scale, and stormwater management improvements.

Northampton County:

  • Lehigh Valley Rail Management LLC: $1.8 million to rehabilitate 860 feet of track and construct 3,500 feet of track in the Iron Hill Transload Yard.

Northumberland County:

  • North Shore Railroad: $904,000 to rehabilitate and replace rail on North Shore’s mainline. 

Warren County:

  • West Railcar and Fabrication LLC: $477,000 to rehabilitate four facility tracks and turnouts.

Westmoreland County:  

  • Albatross Ventures: $669,000 to rehabilitate trackage at the sand transload facility; and
  • Three Rivers Marine and Rail Terminals: $261,000 to rehabilitate sections of track at the Gibsonton Terminal by replacing ties and surfacing.

York County:

  • York Railway: $1.6 million to rehabilitate track in the Lincoln Yard with rail and tie replacement and track surfacing.