Herrin Short Line Rail Services Begins Again

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By Fanna Haile-Selassie
By Jared Roberts

HERRIN -- It's been more than two years since there's been rail service in Herrin and now that is all changing. The first two rail cars made a stop at East Side Lumberyard Friday afternoon.

"Moved to Herrin in '89, we knew we needed rail and so we were looking for a place to use and when this opened up, it was perfect for us," says Dave Reis, East Side's Vice President.
 
He says East Side lost money when Crab Orchard and Egyptian railroad shut down in 2011, and the company had to rely on truck shipments.
     
"We're buying in large quantities when you're buying by rail and it's a good-sized cost savings that obviously we can pass on in lower prices," Reis explains.
 
In December of 2012, Progressive Rail bought out CO&E to get the short rail up and chugging again.
 
"We are really impressed with the business environment in this area. Both cities, Marion and Herrin, have got excellent industrial development activities going on and potential," says Progressive Rail Vice President Jordan Buck.
 
Buck says Progressive secured a $70,000 grant to rehabilitate the aging rail line. Soon, they will also provide service across Herrin to Natural Enrichment Industries, one of the biggest pushers of bringing back the short line.
 
"Initially, we'll be running through the middle of Herrin a couple times a week. And as business develops we anticipate it to be more of a daily thing," says Buck.
 
Homeowner Kevin Dahn says that's alright with him, as long as it's not too late in the day.
 
"It's good for the economy, as long as they come through the day time and maybe not waking me up at night, that'd be wonderful."
 
Buck says the trains will be running through the middle of the day and primarily just on weekdays. He also says the trains are typically 15 cars or less, so the wait time at the Herrin crossroad shouldn't be too long.
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