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Natchez railroad upgrades progressing toward completion
from Staff Reports - NEWS
July 10, 2019 - ListenUpYall.com

By John Mott Coffey
 
NATCHEZ, Miss. – Bridge upgrades to ensure Natchez’ railroad connection remains viable are projected to be completed later this year paid mostly by federal funds.

The city of Natchez, which received $10 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation three years ago, joined with Natchez Railway Inc. for the railroad rehabilitation project.

 “The whole concept was to save the rail, … to keep the rail service going,” said Natchez Alderman Joyce Arceneaux-Mathis.
She and other city aldermen met with Natchez Railway officials Tuesday to get updated on work being done on the rail line that connects Natchez with Canadian National Railway tracks at Brookhaven 65 miles away.
 
Natchez’ only rail line was threatened with abandonment a few years ago because its substandard bridges could not accommodate heavy train cars. However, with $10 million in federal funds combined with $3.3 million from Natchez Railway, five truss bridges and 25 timber bridges are being rehabilitated, according to the report presented to the Natchez Board of Aldermen and Mayor Darryl Grennell.
 
An agreement between the city and railway company ensures the tracks will not be abandoned for 20 years.
 
The main commodities hauled on the Natchez-to-Brookhaven railroad include forestry products, crude oil and empty train cars for a repair facility at Bude, according to Natchez Railway. Genesis Energy in Natchez is a large user of the railroad, an essential transportation link to the Natchez-Adams County port on the Mississippi River.
  
The train bridges being refurbished between Natchez and Brookhaven include those crossing the Homochitto River, St. Catherine Creek and McCall Creek. The bridge work is expected to be completed this coming October.
 
The $13.3 million project also includes equipping 28 railroad grade crossings with new signs, flashing lights and markings for highway drivers.



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