SOUTH BEND – Economic development officials hope a new rail service linking Indianapolis to West Coast ports in Canada will save central Indiana businesses time and money by bypassing a bottleneck in Chicago rail yards and help transform the capital into more of a distribution hub.
The Indiana Rail Road Co. will partner with Canadian National Railway to provide intermodal service for imports and exports between the British Columbia ports of Vancouver and Prince Rupert and Indianapolis starting July 1.
This will help all businesses in central Indiana because we now have a direct rail option, said Chip Edgington, vice president of operations at OSP Group.
Conexus Indiana, a not-for-profit organization that works to boost the states manufacturing and logistics industries, has been working for six years to try to find a way for Indiana businesses to ship via rail while avoiding the congestion in Chicago, said David Holt, the organizations vice president of operations and business development.
Companies frequently have to pay detention charges while goods sit in rail cars a day or two waiting to be unloaded, Holt said.
Then they have to pay to get the goods to Indianapolis, and that is frequently done by truck, which is more costly than train.
Conexus found an answer when Indiana Rail Road Co., a regional 500-mile railroad that serves central and southwest Indiana and central Illinois, and Canadian National agreed to work together. The plan is to provide rail service between the Canadian ports and Indianapolis three times a week.