Meadville Tribune

Local News

December 21, 2005

Meadville will be a railroad town again: Railroad companies expanding operations through Meadville

12/22/05 — Meadville’s rail yard will get upgrades and new track worth about $1.5 million as rail traffic through town has increased to as many as 40 coal trains a month passing to and from New York and New England power plants.

The current traffic flow is a far cry from the spring of 2003 when locally-based railroad operations were all but dead as the last Meadville-based employee locked up the Meadville train yard control tower and left. Meadville only served as a dropping-off point for freight cars.

It was a dramatic moment for a community that served as a regional railroad hub for generations. At points in Meadville’s history, the railroad had employed hundreds — from train crews and freight handlers to locomotive builders and freight car repairmen.

The announcement of the rail yard upgrade come as Western New York and Pennsylvania Railroad expands its operations through Meadville and into Venango County.

The railroad, which operates 186.5 miles of track from Hornell, N.Y., to Meadville, is leasing 45.25 miles of track from Norfolk Southern Railroad from Meadville to Rouseville in Venango County, according to William Burt, its president and chief operating officer. The lease is effective Dec. 28, but financial terms weren’t disclosed.

“It gives us better level of (operating) efficiencies,” said Rudy Husband, spokesman for Norfolk Southern.

The lease includes three miles of track from where the WNY&P; and Norfolk Southern connect near the Spring Street Bridge through the Meadville train yard and then southeast into Venango County including industrial service tracks in Franklin, Oil City and Titusville.

“We’ll be responsible for maintenance and operations,” Burt said. “We’ll be making some changes to the Meadville yard, adding track.”

Additional track in the train yard is needed to accommodate 100-car coal trains that Norfolk Southern has been running from southwestern Pennsylvania to power plants in New York state and New England.

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