Environmental Matters > CSX - Louisville & Indiana
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CSX Transportation, Inc. – Joint Use – Louisville & Indiana Railroad, Inc.
On August 30, 2013, the Surface Transportation Board’s Office of Environmental Analysis (OEA) issued a Draft Environmental Assessment (EA), which analyzes the potential environmental effects of a proposal by CSX Transportation, Inc. (CSXT) and the Louisville and Indiana Railroad Company (L&I) to jointly operate over L&I’s 106.5-mile rail line between Indianapolis, IN, and Louisville, KY. CSXT and L&I (together known as Applicants) are seeking the Board’s permission for CSXT to acquire an operating easement that would allow additional CSXT trains to operate over the L&I rail line, along with the L&I trains that are already operating over the rail line. CSXT would pay L&I $10 million dollars for the operating easement and would spend between $70 and $90 million to improve the rail line to allow CSXT to move longer (up to 7,500 feet from 5,100 feet) faster (up to 49 miles per hour from the current 15 to 25 miles per hour), and heavier (from railcars that can carry 263,000 pounds of freight to ones that can carry 286,000 pounds of freight) trains.
Today, between two and seven trains (mostly L&I but a few CSXT) operate on the rail line between Indianapolis and Louisville. The L&I trains serve rail customers along the 106.5-mile rail line. The CSXT trains currently operating over the L&I rail line do not serve shippers located on the rail line; rather, they move over the rail line to other destinations (called “through traffic”).
If the Board should approve the Applicants’ proposal, CSXT would move between 13 and 15 trains per day mostly from its Louisville to Cincinnati rail corridor, known as the “LCL Subdivision” to the L&I rail line. CSXT explains that its LCL Subdivision is close to operating at capacity and that because of the steep grades and tight curves on the LCL Subdivision, CSXT must restrict both the length and speeds of its trains. CSXT states that if the Board approves the proposal, it would take approximately seven years for CSXT to finish the improvements it plans on the L&I rail line. CSXT would not materially increase its train traffic on the L&I rail line until it has completed its planned improvements on the rail line.
Before deciding whether to approve the Applicants’ proposal, the Board must consider the potential environmental effects of its decision. The Draft EA is the first step in this process. The Draft EA examines the potential environmental effects of the Applicant’s proposal on both the natural and human environment, including the many communities located on the L&I rail line. OEA encourages interested parties to submit written comments on all aspects of the Draft EA. OEA will consider and respond to comments in preparing the Final EA. The Final EA will include OEA’s final conclusions on potential impacts that could result from the proposed transaction and OEA’s final recommendations, including final recommended mitigation measures. To be considered, comments must be submitted during the comment period, which will close on September 30, 2013. OEA will issue the Final EA on or before November 6, 2013. The Board plans to issue a final decision on the proposed transaction by December 6, 2013.
The Draft EA including instructions on how to submit comments can be viewed by clicking here. The Draft EA is also available to view on disk at the following public libraries in the project area:
· Austin Branch Library, Austin, IN,
· Bartholomew County Public Library, Columbus, IN,
· Crothersville Library, Crothersville, IN,
· Edinburgh Wright-Hageman Public Library, Edinburgh, IN,
· Johnson County Public Library – Franklin Branch, Franklin, IN,
· Greenwood Public Library, Greenwood, IN,
· White River Library, Greenwood, IN,
· Henryville Public Library, Henryville, IN,
· Indianapolis Public Library – Central Library,
· Indianapolis Public Library – Southport Branch,
· Indianapolis Public Library – Garfield Park Branch,
· Jeffersonville Township Public Library, Jeffersonville, IN,
· Scott County Public Library, Scottsburg, IN,
· Sellersburg Library, Sellersburg, IN,
· Jackson County Public Library, Seymour, IN,
· Louisville Free Public Library – Main Library, Louisville, KY, and
· Louisville Free Public Library – Western Branch, Louisville, KY.