Frequently Asked Questions: Louisville-to-Indiana Service Improvement Plan
Q. What Is the Louisville-to-Indiana Service Improvement Plan?
A. In April 2015, the Federal Surface Transportation Board approved an agreement between the Louisville & Indiana Railroad (LIRC) and CSX that grants CSX a permanent easement to operate over the LIRC’s 106-mile rail corridor between Indianapolis and Louisville, enhancing rail access for the Port of Indiana-Jeffersonville and improving connectivity to CSX’s broader network allowing for increased customer efficiency.
As part of the agreement, CSX is funding up to $90 million in infrastructure improvements to support increased train traffic from both railroads over the LIRC line. These improvements include the installation of new rail, upgrades to the rail bed structure and highway-rail grade crossing improvements to enhance safety. Many of the track improvements between Louisville, Ky., and Seymour, Ind., are complete, allowing LIRC and CSX to increase the speed and frequency of trains on that segment of the line.
Q. What is the Louisville & Indiana Railroad (LIRC)?
A. The Louisville & Indiana Railroad is a short-line railroad that was formed in March 1994 to acquire 106 miles of rail line between Indianapolis and Louisville. LIRC connects with CSX, the Indiana Railroad Company (INRD), Norfolk Southern (NS) and the Paducah & Louisville Railroad (PAL). The line serves numerous major companies and an efficient inland port facility. Since formation, the LIRC has located a number of new industries to its lines.
Q. What are the benefits of this agreement?
A. CSX and LIRC customers in the Midwest and across the companies’ networks will see improved operational efficiency and more-direct transit and reduced congestion on certain CSX lines in Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky. The local economy will benefit from new jobs driven by businesses that choose to locate along the railroad route, as well as reduced traffic congestion at some crossings where faster trains will reduce waiting times for vehicles.
Q. What is the operational effect of this agreement?
A. The number and average length of CSX trains operating on the LIRC is expected to rise. CSX currently operates up to four trains daily on the LIRC rail line, but there could be as many as 10 trains running per day between Louisville, Ky., and Seymour, Ind. Train length could reach up to 14,000 feet. The number and length of the trains is expected to vary depending on freight volumes.
Q. At what speeds will trains be travelling?
A. At the beginning of September 2016, CSX and LIRC train speeds began to gradually escalate. Train speeds have increased from the current limit of 25 mph to 49 mph at many locations. Track and signal improvements have been made to allow for the safe increase in train speeds in accordance with Federal regulations.
Q. What will the trains be carrying along the route?
A. Trains carry a variety of commodities important to the U.S. economy and America’s way of life, including consumer products, automobiles, automobile parts, food and agriculture products.
Q. Have local communities been notified of the increase in trains and train speed?
A. Safety is always CSX’s main priority. We strive to be a good neighbor in the communities where our trains operate. CSX and LIRC representatives have held numerous meetings with community leaders to share project status updates and address concerns related to anticipated increases in freight volume, speed and infrastructure improvements. Officials from both companies will continue to share such information.
Q. How will first responders know what to do if there is a rail incident in their local community?
A. While rail incidents are rare, it is important that first responders are properly prepared for them. In anticipation of increased volumes along the route, LIRC and CSX used the Safety Train, a mobile training facility, to provide hands-on training to nearly 400 local firefighters, police officers, emergency medical technicians and others in September 2016. The Safety Train held classes in Columbus, Seymour, Clarksville, Scottsburg and Sellersburg. In Jeffersonville, in addition to training, a full-scale mock exercise that included nearly 20 local, state and federal agencies was held to foster interagency cooperation and education.
Q. Can I get more information about this plan?
A. The public can get more information by emailing us at LIRCinfo@csx.com. LIRC also has a community information phone number, 812-258-9523, for information about its operations.
We encourage residents to contact us immediately for rail emergencies, including blocked crossings or tracks, crossing accidents, crossing signal problems, vandalism, trespassing or unsafe employee driving. CSX’s emergency contact number is 1-800-232-0144.