OmniTRAX railroad receives grant for track rehabilitation

Written by David C. Lester, Editor-in-Chief
OmniTRAX has signed a letter of intent to purchase the San Luis and Rio Grande Railroad

On May 12, 2021, the Ohio Rail Development Commission (ORDC) approved a grant in the amount of $1,564,051 to Cleveland and Cuyahoga Railway (CCRL).

These funds will assist with road’s rehabilitation efforts to the Mahoning Subdivision with the replacement of approximately 8,178 crossties, the installation of 7,501 tons of ballast, nearly 90,000 track feet of surfacing, rail replacement, and ancillary work on the main and side tracks over 12 miles of CCRL’s Mahoning Subdivision.

Utilizing ODOT’s flexible Federal Highway Freight Program funding allocated to ORDC, the grant will be funded from multiple fiscal year allocations with $785,250 from current fiscal year FY ’21 funding for materials, and $778,801 for construction and ancillary costs in FY ‘22. CCRL’s share of the cost is $391,013.  The total project cost is $1,955,064.

CCRL operates over 35 miles of track on its Glenwillow Subdivision (which runs from Cleveland to Glenwillow) and its Mahoning Subdivision (which runs from Cleveland to Solon). Nearly two years ago, CCRL acquired the leases to these lines from a previous operator. The lines had seen very little major investment in many years preceding CCRL’s acquisition.  The new owners have demonstrated their willingness to invest in the long-term viability of the line.

David Arganbright, Vice President of Government Affairs, OmniTrax, Inc., said “The Cleveland & Cuyahoga Railway (CCRL) is a strategic shortline that operates two separate line segments in Cuyahoga County.  Under prior stewardship. the lines had suffered from years of disinvestment.  When OmniTRAX assumed operational control, a plan was devised to return both line segments to a state of good repair.  This is now in the process of being achieved, largely due to our continuing partnership with Matt Dietrich and the ORDC.  Last year, ORDC helped fund the rehabilitation of CCRL’s Glenwillow sub, which was completed on time and under budget.  This year, ORDC proposes to assist in the rehab of CCRL’s Mahoning sub.  This line segment actively serves five customers that collectively employ over 1100 Ohioans.  Through completion of this project, the CCRL will be completely upgraded for continued safe and efficient rail service.”

“ORDC is happy to support railroads who are making investments in rail infrastructure in the state.  This project will ensure rail service continues to customers along the line, but also provides safety upgrades for track that has experienced years of deferred maintenance.  We are happy to partner with CCRL in this effort,” said Matthew Dietrich, Executive Director, Ohio Rail Development Commission.

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