Freight Rail Lines to Be Upgraded in California

The US Department of Transportation has announced the provision of a 31.4 million USD loan to upgrade key freight rail lines in California.

The Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing (RRIF) loan is being provided by the Build America Bureau for the Sierra Northern Railway (SNR) and Mendocino Railway (MRY) to expand and rehabilitate rail infrastructure in the Central Valley and Mendocino County, California.

A Sierra Railway freight train
A Sierra Railway freight train

These improvements are expected to enhance safety and boost the supply chain in the region.

Deputy Secretary Polly Trottenberg said:

“USDOT is pleased to support this important project in California that will increase safety, reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions, and improve freight service benefitting the entire region. The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to investing in clean transportation and enhancing supply chains.”

The loan will finance almost 100 percent of the planned improvements. This includes SNR’s 6.7-mile expansion of the Oakdale Branch track for engine and carriage storage and MRY’s rehabilitation of Noyo Canyon Tunnel No. 1, 27 bridges and 40 miles of track.

The work is expected to be completed in 2027 and is projected to deliver several benefits, including:

  • Increasing safety, operating capacity and efficiency
  • Reducing derailments and grade-crossing incidents
  • Reducing congestion and air pollution on local roads and highways
Build America Bureau Executive Director Morteza Farajian, Ph.D said:

“Sierra’s and Mendocino’s RRIF loan will help modernise the rail line, which will greatly enhance existing freight service and make the railroad more attractive to new freight customers. We are pleased that a short-line railroad has been able to take advantage of our low-interest financing and deliver improvements that might not have been possible otherwise.”

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