PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — A mothballed train route in southeastern South Dakota that state government still owns has lost another 500 feet of track.
The state Railroad Board considered Wednesday how to handle the situation at Lake Andes along the old Napa-Platte line.
Lake Andes Farmers Co-op Elevator purchased excess property from the state board in July 2021. The elevator then installed a truck scale there. That required a new approach road.
The co-op asked to remove track and flatten the crossing for the new road and ditching. The work was done in May 2022, however, before the state board could approve a track-removal permit. Torn-out rail was stockpiled at the southeast end.
The state board decided Wednesday the co-op will pay for restoration of the grade and track if that portion of the 82.4-mile line is ever reactivated. Traffic hasn’t run on much of it since 1989.
The board also approved annual maintenance plans for several state-owned routes Wednesday, including the stretch between Napa and Tyndall that Dakota Southern Railway currently leases.
Dakota Southern’s vice president of operations, Heath Haden, told the board there are roughly six miles of tank cars in storage on the line in the Tabor area. According to Haden, the tank cars can’t be pushed farther west because of a lack of locomotive power, so weed spraying along that stretch will be limited to noxious growth this year.
Kansas City, Missouri-based Midwest Pacific Rail Net & Logistics is Dakota Southern’s parent company. The 2022 state rail plan includes a description of the Napa-Platte route on pages 50-51.