Track services

W&LE advances $10 million on runway reconfiguration project

Written by

Marybeth Luczak, Editor-in-Chief

The Ohio Rail Development Commission (ORDC) has approved a $490,626 grant for a project in Spencer that will improve public safety and smooth rail traffic by reconfiguring connecting tracks between four Wheeling & Lake Erie Railway (W&LE ).

ORDC July 20 awarded the grant, which fulfills its match requirement when submitting to the Federal Railroad Administration’s (FRA) Consolidated Railroad Infrastructure and Safety Improvement (CRISI) grant program. ORDC and based in Ohio W&LEThe age of the railwayRegional Railway of the Year 2004 – submitted a CRISI application for the nearly $10 million project in November 2021 and received up to $6,868,768 in June 2022. ORDC and W&LE are providing a matching $30 %.

Spencer, Ohio is located at the convergence of the Hartland (north), Akron (east), Brewster (south), and Carey (west) lines of the W&LE Subdivision (see maps below). Two connecting tracks currently exist: the Spencer Connecting Track in the southwest quadrant between Carey and Brewster, and the Spencer Transfer Track, in the northeast quadrant between Hartland and Akron. “[D]Due to the configuration of the connecting tracks, traffic moving between the lines is blocking the North Main Street/State Route 301 crossing,” the ORDC reported. “This project will help alleviate these blockages while increasing the fluidity of W&LE’s operations in the region.”

(Map courtesy of W&LE)
(Map courtesy of W&LE)

“Project Spencer is the result of a concerted effort between the ORDC, FRA and W&LE, and has several benefits,” said Dan Reinsel, W&LE’s Assistant Vice President of Engineering and Signals. “These benefits include, but are not limited to, reduced on-time delays for vehicle movement, increased efficiency of train operations and reduced emissions. We are very happy that this project is progressing. »

“By improving operational efficiency and reducing crossing blockages, the improvements will increase safety for the traveling public and support W&LE’s continued growth in the future; a win for everyone involved,” said ORDC Executive Director Matthew Dietrich.

W&LE’s service area includes 840 miles of track in Ohio, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Maryland. The private regional connects directly to CN, CSX and Norfolk Southern, and interchanges with 14 regional and shortline railways. Among the raw materials it manages are: steel and raw materials; aggregates; chemical products; industrial minerals, including frac sand; plastic products; grain; foodstuffs; lumber; paper; and petroleum products.

In 2018, the Ohio Public Utilities Commission approved the ORDC’s building permit directing the regional to upgrade a walkway in the Village of New Washington, Crawford County.