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Freight Rail Service Coming Back To Monroe County
Written by Darin Brown, General Manager   
Wednesday, January 02, 2013 2:18 PM

Pictured at the signing of the new railroad deal were, from left: Commissioners John Pyles and Carl Davis; Jeffrey Himmel, Chairman Hannibal Real Estate; Russell Peterson, Chairman Carload Express/Ohio Terminal Railway; Commissioner Tim Price; David Reid, Managing Director Hannibal Real Estate. A long-awaited infrastructure upgrade to Monroe County finally became a reality on Dec. 12 as a deal was signed to re-install a short line rail service on the river front. Involved were Hannibal Real Estate, LLC, owners of the Hannibal Industrial Park, and Carload Express, Inc., a short line railroad operator. The deal is expected to be an economic catalyst for the county as the oil and gas boom continues to take form.

According to a press release on the agreement, the 12.2 mile Omal railway line in Monroe County will be re-opened in the spring of 2013. The railway line will extend from Belmont County to the Hannibal Industrial Park which sits on the old Ormet rolling mill site. A railway already exists on the site but has fallen into disrepair and in not currently being used. Once repaired and put in operation by Carload, the line will allow for freight rail service which will be the only rail service in Monroe County.

The press release describes the rail line as follows: “The Omal railway line was originally built by the Pennsylvania Ralroad to service the aluminum plant at Hannibal and later was sold by Conrail to the Ormet Railroad Corporation. In 2007 when Hannibal Real Estate acquired the former Ormet Rolling Mill at Hannibal, they also acquired the operating rights to the Omal Railway from Ormet.”

Although the distance of the rail line may seem short, it will connect to an existing line in Powhatan Point. From there, the entire Norfolk Southern rail network (covering an astounding 20,000 plus miles) is available. That means Monroe County will be connected to a rail system that goes as far west as Chicago, as far south as New Orleans, and as far east as Baltimore. 


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