Thanks to a federal grant from the Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements (CRISI) Program, communities along the Chattooga and & Chickamauga Railway (CCKY) will reap the benefits of infrastructure improvements.
The grant was awarded directly to the Georgia Department of Transportion.
A subsidiary of Genesee & Wyoming Inc., Chattooga & Chickamauga Railway Co. runs 49 miles from Lyerly, Ga, to Chattanooga, Tenn., where it interchanges with Norfolk Southern Railway in northwest Georgia.
Georgia DOT purchased the Lyerly branch from Norfolk Southern in 1998 and began working with the C&C to increase freight traffic over the line. The Hedges branch remained in NS ownership.
According to a press release issued this week, the $1.35-million grant will improve the safety, efficiency and reliability of freight movement for current and future industries in northwest Georgia by replacing 20,000 railroad crossties, installing 8,750 tons of ballast and resurfacing crossings on the CCKY, which leases the rail line from Georgia DOT.
“Thanks to this grant, CCKY can continue upgrading its line and is in an excellent position to support economic and job growth in northwest Georgia,” Jim Irvin, president of the railroad, said this week. “Our railroad provides customers in this region with safe and efficient access to the national rail network. We thank Georgia DOT and all state and local officials who supported this effort.”
“These are the partnerships that help rural and urban communities thrive economically,” said Federal Railroad Administration Administrator Ronald Batory in the June 12 announcement of the awards. “The participation of multiple partners demonstrates the importance of these funds and tells us they will be a key asset in improving safety for communities and railroads around the country.”
The Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act authorized the CRISI Program, which funds a wide range of projects that improve the safety, efficiency and reliability of intercity passenger and freight rail systems. Over one-third of the $326 million in grant funds were awarded to rural projects such as those in Georgia.
Heart of Georgia Railroad is also set to benefit from the same grant.