‘Immediate Needs’ assessment of Mahoning Valley rail infrastructure is released

On May 31, a sister organization of All Aboard Ohio called RESTORE released its “Immediate Needs” rail infrastructure assessment for the Mahoning Valley. The client is the Western Reserve Port Authority (WRPA) which has considered whether to support rail infrastructure improvements and, if so, which ones may be the most appropriate for building its organizational capacity for developing rail projects.

Here is the final report:

FINAL REPORT (Large file! 11MB download)

PRESENTATION (8MB download – after it opens, right-click on the image and select “Rotate Clockwise”)

In recent years, the Youngstown-Warren Mahoning Valley area has seen a surge of industrial growth and development activity after 35 years of de-industrialization. During those three decades, the region lost some but not all of its rail infrastructure — rail yards, track connections, mainlines. Some of those missing pieces can be restored more easily than others to serve new industrial shippers and provide more track capacity for existing, growing shippers.

WRPA hired RESTORE because of its familiarity with rail infrastructure, routes, histories and current/future traffic flows. It also has knowledge of rail industry players, practices and will research, review and recommend projects in a fair and honest manner. RESTORE subcontracted with Michael Connor, rail consultant for Excelsior Transportation Management in Cleveland.  Among his many other railroad experiences, Mr. Connor was Chief Operating Officer for Ohio Central RR when his company acquired and preserved numerous railroad rights of way for future use in the Mahoning Valley. His knowledge and experience was very important in guiding this study.

RESTORE was hired by WRPA to identify up to five potential rail projects that can get underway in less than two years to meet the immediate needs of railroads, industries and other shippers. RESTORE was also asked to take a big-picture view to identify some longer-term, community-need rail projects, to measure their viability and to assess what features they could add in order to further increase their viability. The final study was delivered to WRPA on May 31, 2012.

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