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Giddings, Elgin rail line revived

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Posted: Tuesday, February 6, 2018 10:30 pm

A once-dormant section of railway between Elgin and Giddings will see a second life this year. 

Capital Metro owns 162 miles of railroad track between Llano and Giddings, which is operated by WATCO. 

In August, the Cap Metro board approved a contract modification to expand services on a 23-mile stretch of track between Elgin and Giddings, which runs through the McDade and Paige communities. 

WATCO will operate and maintain the new segment and provide Capital Metro with a portion of the gross revenue generated, projected to bring the agency $13 million over the contract period, according to information on the Cap Metro website. 

The railway will start service during the first quarter of this year, with trains running once a day, initially, with between 40 and 60 cars with small rocks, known as aggregate, being the primary product transported. 

The next step in the project timeline is for Cap Metro to implement a community outreach plan to provide details and a project timeline to area residents, businesses and other stakeholders, including an outreach to area schools with safety information to teach kids how to be safe around railroad tracks. 

Brush clearing is currently underway and could take a few months. The track will be inspected to see if any materials need to be replaced. WATCO will be responsible for paying these costs. 

Right of way will be cleared 25 feet from the center line of the track on each side. Crossings would be cut a minimum of 15 feet from the tracks. This work will be done on Capital Metro’s right of way and will not block landowner access. 

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