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Beyond being a sound investment in rural Minnesota's economy, plugging taxpayer dollars into the Prairie Line could be a money saver in the long term, proponents of the railroad say. By getting all those trucks off the roads, highway maintenance costs will be reduced.

In addition, ethanol trains are restricted to 30 or fewer cars meaning they have to be staged into 112 car unit trains in the western suburbs of the Twin Cities before making the journey to California or other destinations. Those precautions were put in place after a rail, despite inspections, snapped last December because of an internal defect.

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It's now a 10 mph track, but the ethanol hauling trains are allowed to travel no faster than 7 mph, said Mark Wegner, president of the Minnesota Prairie Line a subsidiary of the Glencoe based Twin Cities and Western Railroad Co. Even at that speed, each train follows an inspection vehicle that checks the tracks for problems as it travels to Norwood Young America.

"This is the most important economic development project in my district," said state Sen. Kathy Sheran, DFL Mankato.

If the state and federal governments ultimately come through with all of the requested money, the track would be upgraded from the light 80 pound rail laid 95 years ago to modern 115 pound rail that would allow trains to travel up to 25 mph.

The project is the railroad's attempt to get $30 million from the state and $20 million from the federal government to upgrade its nearly century old track. At one point, a brisk walker could move more quickly than the trains on the line. And the track was Huarache Sneakers Gold

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"That's a fundamental shift and a good one," Wegner said. Shippers are looking for opportunities to use rail to move their product.

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Wegner remembers when, six years ago, people promoted an upgrade of the railroad by citing hopes of economic development to the rural counties along the route. With the line operating, albeit at half speed or less, the economic development has come and it's promising to come faster if the railroad can keep up.

rail line not only to their businesses but to the economy of the area. A representative of the ethanol plant said the facility was able to expand from a 35 million gallon plant to a 90 million gallon producer because of the availability of a rail line.

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Heartland now employs more than 50 workers and about every three weeks fills 110 rail cars with ethanol. If the fuel was Huaraches Mens being shipped by truck instead, it would be putting about 400 more trucks on the roads and highways. On top of that, about 75 rail cars a month are filled with dried distillers grain a byproduct of ethanol used as animal feed replacing about 260 semi trucks.

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For Wegner, one of the most interesting moments of the railroad's meeting with the state lawmakers was when an official from a Canadian company talked about the potential for a major tire recycling project in Redwood County if the rail line is upgraded.

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But the Prairie Line is crucial to those towns even as it struggles to coax its aging rails to hold up to the increasing demands of shippers, particularly Winthrop's Heartland Corn Products ethanol plant.

Upgraded track could bolster rural business

Officials from the ethanol plant and other Huarache Nike White And Black

"Obviously it costs a lot of money to do things that way," Wegner said.

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so decrepit in places that there was once a derailment while the rail cars were standing still.

"But it's got to be dependable before they'll be willing to ship on it," Rath said.

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