My turn

Chambers collaborate to highlight rail investments in NWI

2013-04-12T00:00:00Z Chambers collaborate to highlight rail investments in NWIBy Dave Ryan Times Columnist
April 12, 2013 12:00 am  • 

The Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce, together with Crossroads Regional Chamber of Commerce, will host the Northern Indiana Rail Conference – Junction 2013 on April 19 at Dynasty Banquet Center, 4125 Calumet Ave., Hammond.

The rail conference will highlight not only the $70 million Potash Corporation’s investment in Hammond, ,but also the $71 million Indiana Gateway Project. which will upgrade approximately 30 miles of track from Porter to the Illinois State Line, significantly improving rail traffic in NW Indiana.

These are but two of the several multimillion-dollar rail investments planned for our region, and participants at the rail conference will be treated to a keynote presentation by the Potash Corporation as well as a panel discussion with local economic development experts in the rail industry.

David Ostertag, senior director of Transportation & Distribution for the Potash Corporation, will discuss its new project and how the company chose Hammond (and NW Indiana) for the $70 million investment.

Additionally, Hammond Mayor Tom McDermott Jr. will join a panel of economic development experts to highlight the project’s impact on the Indiana Harbor Belt, the Indiana Gateway Project, the $130 million Englewood Flyover Project in Illinois, and the thousands of new construction jobs that will be created in our region by these projects.

With the culmination of the enormous BP Modernization Project in the latter part of 2013, and the thousands of construction jobs associated with the BP Project, it is comforting to know that these new railroad projects in Indiana and Illinois will require several thousand workers to complete. For example, the new Potash facility will require nearly 300 construction workers, while the Indiana Gateway Project will need more than 700 construction workers to complete the job. The Englewood Flyover Project will create more than 1,500 new construction jobs, while at the same time improving rail traffic for hundreds of daily commuter, freight, and Amtrak trains in our region.

Rail transportation has always been significant in our region, because we are the direct link to all points of the compass. Whether it is steel or oil, automobiles or fertilizer, corn syrup or soap, our region has a hand in delivering it to all parts of the U.S. and beyond.

To learn everything you always wanted to know about rail, and future rail investments in our area, you need to attend the April 19 Northern Indiana Rail Conference – Junction 2013. To register, call the Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce at (219) 931 1000, you will be glad you did.

Dave Ryan is the executive director of the Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce. The opinions expressed are his own. He can be reached at or (219) 931-1000.

Copyright 2014 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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