TRANSPORTATION: Short lines getting the business

2013-10-20T00:00:00Z 2013-12-18T16:20:17Z TRANSPORTATION: Short lines getting the businessBy Keith Benman keith.benman@nwi.com, (219) 933-3326 nwitimes.com

Short line railroads like South Shore Freight are powering the nation's rail recovery, with total carloads on short lines up 7.5 percent compared to one year ago, according to Railway Age magazine.

In Hammond, Indiana Harbor Belt has added new tracks and facilities at its Gibson Yard.

Class I freight railroads have seen largely stable business this year, according to Railway Age.

Commuter railroads have not rebounded as quickly, mainly because of the slow pace of job growth, according to John Parsons, assistant director of the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District.

The South Shore commuter railroad cannot yet forecast a ridership turnaround for this year, although average weekday ridership increased slightly in September, while average weekend ridership was unchanged from last year.

"Loop employment has been an issue," Parsons said. "Even when businesses start hiring back, for every two people they released they are hiring just one back to do their job."

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