The Town of North Judson hopes to have a new lease in place for their short line railroad by the end of September. During a brief special session last night the council approved a request for proposals to lease the line. The RFP will now be sent to the 11 operators who have registered their interest with the town.
The Chesapeake and Indiana Railroad has operated the line for several years and is currently doing so under an extension of an agreement with the town that expired in December.
The terms of that extension have derailed the Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum’s operations during their busy summer season. The North Judson-based nonprofit organization has not been able to run its excursion trains beyond English Lake into LaCrosse due to the storage of freight cars on the track. Town officials have expressed hope that any future lease agreement will allow the museum to resume its full train schedule.
At least one operator who has expressed interest in the property says that shouldn’t be a problem. Steve Gibson is the director of Lemont, Ill,-based U.S. Rail Partners, Ltd. He attended last night’s meeting and said afterward there’s plenty of available track to accommodate both rail car storage and the excursion trains.