Mississippi’s Rock Island Rail Expands

Rock Island 4310 leads a Mississippi Delta Railroad freight train at Webb, Mississippi. Photo by Terry Redeker. 

Mississippi’s Rock Island Rail Expands

By Railfan & Railroad Staff

ROSEDALE, Miss. — The new Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Railroad has inked a deal to reopen the long-dormant Great River Railroad in northwestern Mississippi. The 32-mile Great River Railroad has been embargoed for nearly 20 years and is owned by the Port of Rosedale. The former Illinois Central Gulf line interchanges with the Columbus & Greenville Railroad outside of Greenville, Miss.

“It is exciting to be part of this effort that will ultimately bring jobs to the Mississippi Delta,” said Rock Island CEO Robert Riley. “We believe that this effort will significantly enhance the competitive advantage of the Port of Rosedale as it expands and attracts new tenants. We are ready to work with them to attract new tenants, to grow the capabilities of existing tenants, and to boost and expand intermodal capabilities.”

Rock Island Rail has been turning heads with its revival of the long-lost Class One’s name and image. Earlier this year, it painted two GP38s into the railroad blue and white scheme. Rock Island Rail is currently operating the Mississippi Delta Railroad between Jonestown and a connection with Canadian National at Swan Lake. Like the Great River Railroad, it is also a former ICG route.

Phase One of the reopening of the Great River Railroad is now underway and includes brush clearing and track upgrades. There is no timeline for when the line will be open. 

This article was posted on: August 24, 2020