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Business/Economy

Repair project in line for Southtowns rail

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courtesy John Cappellino, ECIDA
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Just behind the old Big Tree fire hall, the Buffalo Southern Railroad runs over a culvert carrying Rush Creek under the rail line. Years of high water have begun to damage the culvert and plans are now being formed to tackle the complex repair.

The rail is owned by Erie County and is administered by the Erie County Industrial Development Agency. IDA Executive Vice President John Cappellino explained that Rush Creek near the culvert "makes a significant 45 to 90 degree turn."

The resulting damage requires repair. 

"We need to take care of it with some maintenance and some rock protection and things that we will be doing along the base of the actual bridge, " said Cappellino.

The Buffalo Southern runs from South Buffalo through Hamburg, Eden and North Collins to Gowanda to connect with another short line to South Dayton.

Buffalo Southern Operations Vice President Bert Feasley said the biggest operation along the line each year is the James E. Strates Shows train for the Erie County Fair. There is also continuing freight service to a series of customers, one of which is the Norco propane plant.

"They have a large propane transfer plant in North Collins. So, late fall to early spring, they do all that business in 4 months, basically. They do a lot of business there," Feasley said.

The IDA is opening bids Thursday for repairs to the railroad's track for much of its length.