ROCHELLE(WIFR) – Not many cities the size of Rochelle have entered into the business of buying railroads, but city leaders say this 8 million dollar investment continues to pay off. Today was the grand opening of the City of Rochelle railroad which expands rail service to the Union Pacific and Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroads.
“This little railroad system today which expands over 12 miles has created 14 new industries, $1.2 billion dollars of capital investment, and 2,000 jobs created.”
It may be a city of 9,600 but this new expansion can make Rochelle a major player in international trade. With new access to two of the largest railroads in the country, Rochelle businesses now have better access to transport and in turn create more profit and growth.
“We hope that this brings even more industry, even more jobs and even more prosperity to the community,” said Adam Kinzinger (R-16th District)
The two year expansion cost over 8 million and was paid for by grants, but it now allows northern Illinois to transport products like resin, ethanol, and cold storage on a global scale.
“By having a spoke here, we can load and unload it at points of business along the way we can reach really the entire united states and from there take it on ocean liners and bring it around the world,” said Tom Demmer (R-90th District).
The Hub City expansion isn’t over yet. They will continue to build in 2014.
“Our plan next year is to extend another 3,200 feet of double track to the south. This going to be able to allow us to handle 100 unit car trains and when we can begin to handle 100 cars the future is unlimited .”
Up until now, more than 4,000 rail cars are switched to the city of Rochelle Railroad every year. This new extension of the rail system should more than double the number of cars moving forward.