The Indiana Rail Road Co. says it has signed an agreement with Peabody Energy to construct a 5.2-mile rail spur to Peabody’s new Bear Run Mine in Sullivan County, Ind., which it says is the largest surface coal mine in the eastern U.S.
Construction will proceed once approval is granted by the Surface Transportation Board. Rail officials expect to have the new line completed by early 2010. Peabody already has announced its plan to invest up to $500 million to develop the coal site, and expects to produce 8 million tons of coal annually after 2010.
Indiana Rail Road initially will invest $17 million, with at least $5 million in additional improvements planned thereafter to accommodate increased traffic volume generated by the facility.“Peabody’s investment is one of the most significant industrial developments in Indiana in this decade,” said Indiana Rail Road President and CEO Thomas G. Hoback in a statement, “and it is the largest single new business opportunity ever awarded to the Indiana Rail Road Company. We project that it will increase our current coal transportation volumes by more than 30%. We value the confidence shown by Peabody, a global leader, in our ability to provide world-class service.”
The regional railroad, based in Indianapolis, operates a 500-mile route system based primarily in Indiana and Illinois, with terminals in Chicago, Indianapolis, Terre Haute, Ind., and Louisville, Ky.