SEDA-COG director offers glimpse of upcoming rail work in Tyrone

Earlier last week, The Daily Herald gave readers a brief look at an upcoming project that will make rail traffic in Tyrone just a little quieter.
Even more recently, Jeff Stover, director of SEDA-COG Joint Rail Authority, returned a call and shed even more light on the multi-million dollar project.
“The residents of Tyrone are going to notice a definite difference by the end of summer,” said Stover. “We’re looking forward to this much-needed project and are getting all our ducks in order as we speak. It won’t be too long before we get going on it.”
According to Stover, the project calls for the addition of 5,000 new ties and 12-miles of welded rail from above the Tyrone Rail Station to Port Matilda. It will cost roughly $2 million.
“Some of the tracks and equipment that are being used now dates back to the late 1920s,” said Stover. “The stuff that was in there really lasted a long time. But now we’ve seen an increase with the Bald Eagle Nittany line and Norfolk Southern. This is a significant increase in traffic on this rail line, so we need to be sure it’s in the best shape as possible.”
Stover said the new rail line will be welded, not the stick-type that’s currently in place.
“When the train wheels hit the joints of the stick-type rails, it makes that distinguished clacking sound,” said Stover. “But with the welded rails, there won’t be any joints present to cause those sounds. The result will be much smoother, quieter rail travel.”
Other work includes the removal of the crossing at 14th Street and the addition of pre-cast concrete panels.
“That’s the only bad crossing in Tyrone,” said Stover. “We checked 12th and 13th Streets, but they seem to be in pretty good shape.”
The project is scheduled to begin in July and should be completed sometime in September. He said most likely, the work in Tyrone would be completed first, then work up the line to Port Matilda.
Although project costs are estimated at around $2 million, SEDA-COG noted that a number of state agencies, including the state Department of Transportation, is helping with some of the costs.
“We’ve got a lot of support from the legislators who represent Northern Blair County,” said Stover. “Representative Larry Sather and Senator Robert Jubelirer have been instrumental in making sure this project has come to light.
“We’re just excited to get out there and work on it.”
As far as future plans, Stover said there shouldn’t be much more the rail line needs in or around Tyrone.
“This really should do it,” said Stover. “We’ve done a pretty thorough inspection and found this is what needed to be done.”