Thursday, August 2, 2018

South Dakota moves commodities on socialized rail system


Someone has been mowing the right of way at Stamford.

Socialized agriculture, socialized livestock production, socialized coal, a socialized timber industry, socialized air service and now a socialized rail system: nothing ever happens in red state South Dakota without federal pork.
Three railroads and two rail authorities asked a state government panel for support Wednesday as they seek federal aid to help rebuild routes in South Dakota. They’re angling for some of the $318 million the Federal Railroad Administration has in its consolidated rail infrastructure and safety improvements program. The plan laid out by Jerry Vest, a senior vice presient for the Rapid City, Pierre and Eastern line, calls for replacing 25.6 miles of track between Fort Pierre and Capa, upgrading 17 bridges to handle modern 286,000-pound freight cars and rebuilding the JC siding. That would allow trains to run 25 miles per hour rather than 10 through that stretch and the line then could handle the modern standard for loads, he said. [Rail groups seek support by state for federal grants]
The same geology that thwarts railroads and forces engineers to rebuild I-90 between Reliance and Rapid City every year also makes construction of the Keystone XL pipeline untenable.

Building two east-west rail systems exclusively for freight in South Dakota is lunacy. Water crossings where ice floes bash moorings and flooding causes scouring of fill from river bottoms are particularly vulnerable to failures. Recall TEApublican former governor Mike Rounds squandered Amtrak money on an airplane for his personal use. In 1997 the red moocher state received $23 million from taxpayers for going without Amtrak service.

Yes, overcoming the task of building a bridge at Chamberlain across the Missouri River and over the Pierre Shale should lead to passenger service being built on the abandoned Milwaukee bed between Sioux Falls and Rapid City including access for rural communities then connecting with a future line built to Colorado's rail line.

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