Bids are expected in September for a rail transload facility in Sulphur Springs and construction is expected to begin by the end of this year, according to an announcement from the Northeast Texas Rural Rail District. The NETEX board said it will also allow Blacklands Railroad operator Freedom Rail more time to bring the rail tracks up to Class 2 standards.
Roger Feagley from Sulphur Springs Hopkins County Economic Development Corporation said that specifications for the transload facility are written, the design is complete and permitting has been accomplished.
The rail line from Greenville to Sulphur Springs is seeing an uptick in traffic with 700 carloads moved in August by the new operator, Freedom Rail. That compares to only 200 carloads the previous August.
The NETEX board agreed to share costs of clearing overgrown vegetation along the rail line with Freedom Rail. The company is in the process of upgrading track to Class 2 track standards. The line had fallen into disrepair over the past few years until Freedom Rail was named operator. Agreements between NETEX and Freedom Rail call for tracks to be completely upgraded by June 30, 2027.
Freedom Rail reported that the group had replaced 239 ties, fixed three bridges in Hopkins County, and had seen no derailments.