Carver Lumber finally received rail service again when Union Pacific dropped off three cars on the western spur and Central Illinois Railway delivered them to Carver’s loading dock on Thursday, March 16. Local blogger and train enthusiast David Jordan reported this event on the PeoriaRails Yahoo Group:
Central Illinois Railroad made its first revenue run today.
DRSX SW-9 #1207 pulled the three cars from Pioneer Jct. [where the western spur meets the Union Pacific line] and delivered them to Carver Lumber, restoring service to this customer for the first time in seven months, and becoming the first revenue freight train to operate on the former Union Pacific Pioneer Industrial Lead since the last boxcars were delivered to International Paper before closure in late 1995.
Boxcar BCOL 60384 is on spot by the unloading platform, centerbeam flat car TTZX 34700 was already unloaded by 4:00pm while the second boxcar, HS 3185, sits just inside the gate waiting to be spotted (still coupled to the TTZX car). A fourth car (TTZX 84700) is enroute . . . .
Central Illinois Railway (CIRY) never did provide service to Carver Lumber over the Kellar Branch as the city promised and CIRY’s contract stipulated. They attempted it once with insufficient equipment and ended up with a runaway train and a derailment. During the seven months they were without rail access, Carver Lumber had to ship their freight by truck, adding over $25,000 to their shipping costs.
You may remember that Carver Lumber reported this to the Surface Transportation Board (STB) and asked the Board to stay their order allowing the city to remove the Kellar Branch tracks. Carver wanted the order stayed until they started receiving rail shipments again and could get assurance that service via the western spur would be comparable to the service they used to receive from Pioneer Industrial Railway (PIRY) over the Kellar Branch.
Now that they’ve received their first shipment over the new spur, they will presumably be replying to the STB with their report on the adequacy of service they’re receiving. Rail experts speculate that Carver will be paying more for rail service due to the additional routing of shipments.
Meanwhile, PIRY has been busy filing multiple requests with the STB and litigation in state court and U.S. Appeals Court. The U.S. Appeals Court case is apparently on hold pending the Board’s decision on whether to lift their stay or reopen the proceeding that allowed service to be discontinued over the Kellar Branch.
So, expect this to drag out for a while.
Continue reading Kellar Branch Update: Western spur gets its first test