Railroad service shutdown continues following flood
Just last week, the site of the rail line near Hudson, South Dakota was underwater. At the peak of the flood, D & I Railroad officials said about 15 miles of track were completely under water.
"The entire line was affected between Canton and Elk Point," D & I Railroad Co. President Jack Parliament said.
The rail line has been shut down for about 10 days now, and workers are out on the tracks repairing the issues. The moving ballast trains are being used to bring materials to the affected areas.
"A lot of rock is being placed down in areas washed out by the flood water. We have a number of subcontractors that have been called in to help us with the repairs that are necessary from track maintenance, to major bridge damage that needed to be repaired," Railcar Maintenance Manager Scott Van Den Top said.
Parliament said the railroad company is doing their absolute best to make sure businesses don't suffer from the shutdown.
"So far, the businesses had enough storage space or inventory on site to get them through, but in another week or two, their needs are going to get very critical," Parliament said.
One plant that's feeling the impact is POET Biorefining in Hudson, South Dakota.
"It's been more of an inconvenience than anything, obviously, using rail service is more efficient," POET General Manager Joel Jarman said.
Jarman said the railcars on their property have been sitting stationary for about two weeks, and they've had to make due without rail service.
"Our markets at Ethanol Products and Poet Nutrition have done a great job at taking care of us with trucks versus rails," Jarman said.
Jarman said relying on only semis to transport product has some downsides though.
"It's a strain on our employees because it's not as efficient, and it takes more labor hours. It costs us a little bit more because of the logistics in transportation," Jarman said.
Jarman said for now POET is using the railcars on site for storage, which is helpful, but he said he's hoping rail service will be up and running very soon, so business can get back to normal. And, those with the railroad company said that's their goal too.
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