By Melissa Burnor
A direct short-line freight route from Toledo to Adrian could be a possibility. If funding can be secured, a railway linking the two cities could once again be a reality.
Some local government officials are discussing a potential move by the Adrian and Blissfield Railroad company to rebuild about seven miles of railroad track between Riga and Ottawa Lake that had been abandoned since the late 1970s.
Brenda Rice, representative from the rail line spoke at a special meeting of the Riga Township Board Jan. 21. The rail line would essentially tie in the tracks in Riga Township near Silberhorn Highway to Sterns Road in Whiteford Township on what is now an abandoned line of the old Erie & Kalamazoo, the first railroad built in the area and often cited as the first railroad west of the Allegheny Mountains.
It was abandoned nearly three decades ago by Conrail and removed after it stopped running freight from a factory facility that had closed in Lenawee County. It was later purchased from Penn Central by the state of Michigan. This connection would create a more direct freight line for shippers moving their cargo to the east and could save local shippers time and money.
Riga Township Supervisor Gary Kastel said he appreciated the courtesy visit the railroad made to the township.
Whiteford Township Supervisor Walt Ruhl has also been speaking to A & B Railroad officials and expects Rice to be at the Feb. 19 Whiteford Township Board meeting with information about the possibility.
Copyright 2013 River Raisin Publications, Inc. For the complete story, please see the Jan. 30, 2013, edition of The Advance.