Railroad company attempting to spoil Fishers’ plans to convert rails to trails


FISHERS, Ind. -- For the second time, a railroad company is attempting to derail Fishers' plans to turn their downtown railways into trails.

City officials confirm that US Rail Holdings LLC filed an appeal with the Surface Transportation Board to purchase and operate the line. The city said they have been denied before, and during the appeal process they will be allowed to continue work on the Nickel Plate project. The $4.5 million dollar master plan runs right into a new $157 million dollar development downtown.

Save the Nickel Plate is a non-profit trying to convince the city to do both rails and trails. However, city officials said their studies show a combo of both would force them to demolish 40 buildings and purchase land from 80 properties. The non-profit said they are working with engineers to find an alternative plan that is feasible.

“It doesn’t always have to run right parallel to the railroad tracks, sometimes they can veer off, sometimes they can be a little distance away, and still be the same starting point and ending point without knocking down people's homes and taking up their yards," Save the Nickel Plate President Tyler Mendenhall said.

Mendenhall went on to add that US Rail holdings wants to use the rails for light freight operations and possibly passengers.

“This group also plans to reconnect to Union Station, and run Colts trains and Pacers trains to games downtown," Mendenhall said.

We briefly spoke with US Rail Holdings LLC, but they had no comment on the situation. The city confirmed the light freight usage but said the rails are not operable and would need costly repairs. City officials say they are extremely against any freight passing through downtown and causing heavy traffic.

The engineers working with Save the Nickel Plate will be presenting their findings at a meeting Monday night from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Roy G. Holland Memorial Park.

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