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THE GRENADA RAILROAD MOVES FORWARD WITH EXTENSIVE TRACK AND BRIDGE REHABILITATION WORK

The Grenada Railroad (RailUSA) is making heavy investments in the Grenada Railroad.

GRENADA, MS – February 14, 2019 – The Grenada Railroad, through the North Central Mississippi Regional Railroad Authority, and supported by the Federal Railroad Administration and the State of Mississippi, is moving forward with an extensive railroad track and bridge rehabilitation project on its line running from Southaven, MS, through Senatobia, Batesville, Grenada, Winona and Durant, MS, to Canton, MS.

Beginning February 19, 2019, the Railroad will install 72,200 new crossties, rehabilitate more than 30-grade crossings, and surface and line 78 miles of track. The Railroad plans to increase speeds on the segment significantly, from 10 mph to nearly 40 mph after the program is completed.

The projects are being designed and managed by Crouch Engineering out of Brentwood, TN. Track work is being performed by RJ Corman Railroad Construction. Bridge project work is being performed by Simmons Railroad Group. Within 4-6 weeks, work will begin to rehabilitate the 150-span Coldwater River Bridge and four other bridges on the rail line. This work is expected to be completed by August 31, 2019, with additional track and bridge work planned. RailUSA is making a great investment in the Grenada Railroad. The Railroad will be able to handle higher traffic volumes, operate at higher speeds, and provide faster, more reliable service to its customers. The projects also allow the railroad to take on additional customers while providing excellent service.

Press Release from the Communities impacted by the RailUSA investment: “What an exciting day for new economic development opportunities,” stated Matthew Harrison, president of the Greater Grenada Partnership. Harrison also occupies a seat as an executive board member of the North Central Mississippi Regional Rail Authority (NCMRRA). “All the NCMRRA board members have been working diligently to continue to move this project forward, and now it’s about to take off. We are thrilled by the investment that RailUSA is making in the region.”

Darrell Robinson, president of the Board of Supervisors, feels this is not only great for Grenada County but for all of the counties along the Grenada Railroad, “This investment will not only provide new economic growth for our community but every town that the railroad touches. This is a tremendous advantage when competing for new industrial projects.”

“I can’t think of a better way to improve our regional industrial recruitment efforts than having a great sustainable railroad, especially one that runs from Canton to the Memphis intermodal yards. It also benefits our existing industries who will be able to take full advantage of moving larger loads of goods at greater speeds on the tracks,” stated Harrison.

“72,000 new crossties, just let that sink in. That’s a lot of product and a lot of work! With new repaired bridges and grade crossings, the railroad will be ready for new customers that will bring new investments into the community,” stated Robinson. The NCMRRA was created in 2011 by representatives from the counties of Tate, Panola, Yalobusha, Grenada, Montgomery, Carroll, and Holmes Counties with the objective of protecting long term rail service in the region. Joe Azar, Director of Economic Development for the Panola Partnership understands and agrees with the importance of the railway for today’s customers but also the jobs the line creates. “Economic development works two ways. Although the Grenada Railroad can serve our existing and future industrial needs, they too are an industry. That said, it is our economic development obligation to support their investment. The Panola Partnership is committed to encouraging our existing industry to utilize our short- line railway, as well as recruiting future industries that use rail. We must keep in mind our line currently connects to arguably the most logistical intermodal yard in our nation. What an asset!”

Sue Stidham, Director of the Montgomery County Economic Development Partnership, agrees that the rail not only improves the region but the area that she serves in Montgomery County. “Because transportation is one of the strongest elements of economic development and growth, these improvements to the south portion of Grenada Railway are great for our entire area. Strengthening Grenada Railway will create the path for new opportunities in Montgomery County, bringing new businesses and industries with new jobs.”

Britt Herrin, Executive Director of the Tate County EDF, feels the same way, “This is great news for our existing industry who rely on the Grenada Rail for raw materials and to deliver products to customers. It is also great news for the safety and tranquility of our communities. This investment in the rail line is great news to North Mississippi.” Harrison said much of the credit for this project goes to Larry Hart, the former mayor of Water Valley.

Mr. Hart is the chairman of the executive committee of the NCMRRA, “Mayor Hart has worked tirelessly to represent our region and to find new ways to support the Grenada Railroad. His love for the area and the communities, has driven this project. He has made countless trips and visits across the US to keep moving the railroad forward. I can’t thank him enough for his diligence.” Harrison believes in the new opportunities that this project will bring, “one thing is for sure, this project is just another step up the ladder of growth. I do not doubt that we will see new industrial development headed our way. With team players, like RailUSA, the NCMRRA, and our regional partners, we can’t help but win.”