Rochelle Railroad Expands

By: Laura Gibbs
By: Laura Gibbs

In 1986 Rochelle leaders started chugging away on an idea that would bring thousands of dollars to the community. Today that idea is helping the City of Rochelle to move full speed ahead in terms of industrial growth.

This is just one of the many trains that can now travel south of I-88 on the Rochelle Railroad. Today marked the completion of a 9,900 foot extension of the line. Jason Anderson who is the Rochelle Economic Development Director says, "This is a municipal railroad that connects to BNSF and UP. We don't know if there are many railroads that provide this access."

What's unique about this dual access railroad is that the City of Rochelle actually owns the line. And even if they don't charge any transition fees, the City of Rochelle makes tons of money."

Ken Wise was the Economic Development Director for Rochelle. He says, “With what is going to be built now and what is in production it's going to bring one million dollars net."

Wise initially came up with the idea back in 1986 as a way to attract businesses. He says he just listened to what industrial business owners wanted and since many transport materials by rail or by truck that made developing a railroad vital.

Ken says, “If you locate here basically you have access to anywhere you want to go."

This two mile stretch runs right beside a new un-developed corridor where 3,500 acres of land is expected to go fast to the Rochelle Railroad will run south to the Village of Steward. Rochelle plans to provide water and sewer services to Steward and build a bypass around the village. This is all necessary due to the fact that this is an area that is going to boom.


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