Used locomotives deliver economic benefits
By Jeff Landenberger
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A retired Army locomotive sits atop a flat car for its move to Lake Providence, Louisiana, and it's second career.
Lake Providence, Louisiana, April 11, 2017 —
The Army turned in six used locomotives to DLA Disposition Services they no longer needed.
The former Army locomotives did not sit idle long. The Lake Providence Port Commission of Louisiana acquired them as part of an effort to revitalize a 90-mile stretch of rail line.
Wyly Gilfoil, port director for the Port Commission of Lake Providence, said that a 90-mile rail line serving Northeast Louisiana and Southeast Arkansas stopped operating in the early 2000s because of economic conditions and a lack of upkeep of the line.
A partnership formed by Gilfoil’s agency and an Arkansas government agency purchased the line with the mission of reopening it to provide an affordable transportation option for local producers; primarily makers of fertilizer and agriculture and petroleum products .Daniel Robbins is with the contractor who will be operating the locomotives and rail line for the Port Commission.
Gilfoil said the Port Commission saved more than $810,000 by acquiring the six locomotives from DLA Disposition Services. They arrived in good condition, he said, and properly maintained will last 20-25 years.
According to Robbins, the return of a rail option to Lake Providence has already created jobs. When shipping by rail was no longer an option, a cottonseed processer had closed down. Now that the trains will be running again, so is the plant.