News Local/State

New Short Line Railroad Announced For Decatur


A new short line railroad could be the latest addition to Decatur’s efforts to market itself as a regional shipping hub.

Topflight Grain Cooperative is partnering with OmniTRAX, a Denver-based transportation management grim, to upgrade Topflight’s short line railroad between Decatur and the Piatt County town of Cisco. The two companies announced the project at a news conference in Decatur on Wednesday.

The 13-mile short line had been known as the Decatur Junction, and was used only to ship grain from Topflight’s Cisco elevate. But under its new name, the Decatur Central Railroad, the line will also serve other businesses, including those that OmniTRAX would attract to an industrial park it hopes to develop near the rail line. From the Decatur Central, those businesses could access Decatur’s Midwest Inland Port to ship their goods nationwide by rail, highway or air.

Midwest Inland Port executive director Larry Altenbaumer says OmniTRAX is already in talks with prospective land owners.

“And I know that their near-term priority is trying to get an initial segment of land under control, so that they can begin to have something that they can specifically market.”

Altenbaumer says another OmniTRAX industrial park build near a rail line is the Great Western industry park in Windsor Colorado. He says the decade-old development has attracted 15 businesses, which have in turn created 1800 new jobs.

OmniTRAX is slated to take over operations of Topflight's short line later this year. Altenbaumer says the upgrades to the railroad are expected over the next few years.