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Rail Line Back in Use after Years of Sitting Dormant

by and on July 05, 2019 5:00 AM

Maybe you’ve felt the rumble coming down the tracks out near the Nittany Mall and past Rockview state prison.

It is a familiar sound that hasn’t been heard in that part of the county in a few years, but the section of the old Bellefonte line of the Nittany and Bald Eagle Railway that runs past the former Corning Plant is in use again after years of sitting dormant. Centre Concrete has started using the line to have some of its inventory shipped in, said Jeff Stover, executive director of SEDA COG Joint Rail Authority.

So the sound of a train rolling along Route 26 can be heard again.

In the past 20 years Corning Glass was the only other company to use that short line, said Loni Martz Briner, public relations and media manager of The North Shore Railroad Company and Affiliates, of which Nittany and Bald Eagle is a part. Martz Briner said when Corning closed in June 2003, regular runs on the rail line stopped. Prior to that, he said a chemical company used the line more than two decades ago.

North Shore Railroad Company and Affiliates operate six short lines and because the economy is improving and small businesses are on the uptick, there is an increase in the use of railways. Martz Briner said this is a national trend, and when the economy is flourishing, there is generally more shipping.

For years, storage cars sat on the tracks near Rockview, leaving many to wonder what was happening with the old line. The storage cars were recently removed and taken to Williamsport to make way for trains to come through again, said Stover. For the past few months the train has been rolling along the tracks again as Centre Concrete has gotten the lines in use.

Stover said the use of tracks that aren’t in service to hold storage cars is common. Companies pay rent to store the cars on the track.

Martz Briner said that storage usage fluctuates depending on the economy.

This story was produced by the staff at the Centre County Gazette. It was re-published with permission. The Centre County Gazette is a weekly publication, available at many locations around Centre County every Thursday morning.

Vincent Corso is writer for Town&Gown and the Centre County Gazette.
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