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Locomotive repair site opens

Statement as posted Friday on the Steuben County Economic Development Corp. website:

(Hudson, Indiana) Owners of the Indiana Northeastern Railroad, along with the Town of Hudson, Steuben County Commissioners and Steuben County Economic Development Corporation gathered today to dedicate the Railroad’s newly completed locomotive maintenance facility.

The $1.6 million facility was designed as a one-of-a-kind facility to serve the maintenance needs of the short line railroad headquartered in Hillsdale, Michigan. Features of the building include three sidings, two of which extend into the facility, lighted service pit, a 25 ton crane and equipment specifically designed to service locomotives and other rail equipment.

Five siblings of the Shultz family, owners of the South Milford Grain Company, Inc. acquired the transportation company in 1992, near bankruptcy and with a derailed train near Hamilton, Indiana. It was a necessary service for the grain company so the family entered the railroad business. The short line provides rail services to three Michigan counties, two Indiana counties and Williams County, Ohio with over 120 miles of track. Communities served include Coldwater, Quincy, Hillsdale, Reading in Michigan, Fremont, Angola, South Milford, Hudson, Ashley and Hamilton in Indiana, Edon and Montpelier in Ohio.

The railroad consists of 9 miles of track in Ohio, 44 miles of track in Indiana and 70 miles of track in Michigan. In addition to an investment in the new maintenance facility, the railroad recently formed a partnership with The Andersons, Inc. (Nasdaq: ANDE) and Steuben County to complete upgrades to the rail spanning from the Michigan state line through Steuben County, nearly to the DeKalb County line. This 19 mile stretch was limited by 1900th century rail, which in turn limited The Andersons’ shipping capacity. The ceremonial last spike was driven home on September 25th, with the first “heavy” load being shipped on October 24th. Indiana Northeastern Railroad funded 40 percent of this $5 million upgrade with the balance funded through zero interest loans from The Andersons and Steuben County.

Ron Smith, President of the Steuben County Commissioners expressed his appreciation for the railroad’s investment in Steuben County, not only the new $1.6 million locomotive maintenance facility but also the $5 million rail upgrade, noting, “This railroad is very important to Steuben County’s economic development. We will enjoy the benefits from these projects for years to come.” Smith also personally thanked the Shultz family for finding the solution to the rail upgrade requirements and bringing that solution to the Andersons and Steuben County.

Nearly fifty people, including representatives from the Town of Hudson, Steuben County, the Regional Partnership and Indiana Economic Development Corporation, the project contractor, Monarch Development and many subcontractors joined the Shultz Family in the dedication of this significant facility.

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