South Dakotans should expect more rail traffic as the Rapid City, Pierre & Eastern Railroad expands. Governor Dennis Daugaard is commemorating the completion of two main sidings on the railway this week.
The Rapid City, Pierre and Eastern operates across South Dakota and southern Minnesota. Portions of the railroad also extend into Wyoming and Nebraska. The State Department of Transportation is collaborating with the rail company to expand the railway to Huron and Aurora in Brookings County.
Bruce Lindholm is a program manager for the DOT. He says the railway has been a valuable resource to state transportation since the early 20th century. The rail line is currently operated by the company Genesee and Wyoming.
Lindholm says agriculture products are a major part of the rail line business. He adds that many different industries use the RCP&E for regional transportation of goods.
“Like any railroad, they’re a general carrier, so they will transport whatever a shipper wants to transport. They do obviously a lot of grain, they also do a lot of bentonite, it just depends on what people want shipped," says Lindholm.
Lindholm hopes that the two new sidings added to the current line promote
s further railway expansion for South Dakota. He thinks the addition allows for greater carrying capacity and more frequent interchanges. He says it increases efficiency and reduced on-line delays. He sees cost-efficient benefits for both producers and customers who utilize railways compared to roads.
“The railroads really excel at moving large quantities of products long distances, and so the reason people use railroads is because the transportation cost is lower than trucking," says Lindholm.
Lindholm appreciates the state’s support of rail transportation and adds that the more materials that can be shipped by rail, the more money that stays in the state with producers, leading to more commerce and economic success.