The Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) in January wrapped up its first Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements (CRISI) Program grant project, which included upgrades along 138 miles of the 219-mile Heart of Georgia (HOG) Railroad.
The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) in 2018 awarded $2 million in competitive CRISI grant funding for track and rail bridge upgrades from Vidalia to Preston (see map, above), GDOT reported Jan. 13. The work, which began in 2020, will allow HOG to accommodate 286,000-pound railcars and eliminate slow orders on portions of the track, which is owned by GDOT and leased by HOG, a Genesee & Wyoming subsidiary since 2017.
The newly upgraded section of HOG “is strategically located to carry several agricultural, manufacturing, forestry and intermodal products between central Georgia and the Port of Savannah, offering access to national and global markets,” GDOT said.
It is part of a larger-scale project to upgrade HOG as part of GDOT’s multi-year effort to reach full 286K, Class II compliance.
HOG operates between Midvale and Preston. It interchanges with CSX (at Cordele); Georgia Central Railway (at Vidalia); Georgia Southwestern Railroad (at Americus); Norfolk Southern (at Americus); and The Georgia Southern Railway (at Midville).