The Problem

indy-to-louisville-rr-mapThe Louisville and Indiana Railroad owns the railroad tracks that cross Columbus.  They lease the use of the tracks to CSX Railroad, which controls the amount and size of trains utilizing them.  Due to an increased need by their customers, CSX is investing $100 million to make improvements to the railroad line between Louisville, Kentucky and Indianapolis, Indiana.  These improvements include a solid, welded track and improved crossings to allow for heavier trains and faster train speeds along this corridor, allowing for larger loads and faster movement of materials by the railroad.

Improvements began in Louisville and have now reached Columbus.  If you travel through any of the railroad intersections, you have noticed the addition of gates and lights, as well as intersection improvements.  Track work is now underway and will continue through 2018.  This includes a new bridge on the north side of Columbus, which will be constructed in 2018 at a cost of $12 million to the railroad.  All of these improvements will give CSX the ability to run longer and heavier trains through our city.  As a result, by the end of 2018, Columbus will face significant traffic delays due to increased train traffic.

The State of Indiana, the City of Columbus, Bartholomew County, Louisville & Indianapolis Railroad and CSX came together to address the potential issue and arrived at the overpass solution, which will be financed by several parties, including a $30 million investment from Cummins Inc., as well as the Indiana Department of Transportation, City of Columbus, Bartholomew County and the railroads.  The overpass solution (alternative #4) was identified as the best solution for those impacted by increased train traffic in the area.


The information below was taken the “Railroad Impact Study” presented to the Columbus Redevelopment Commission by American Structurepoint on November 21, 2016.

Rail Traffic Changes

In their study of impacted intersections in Columbus, American Structurepoint estimated the following impacts to take effect by 2018:

  • Train traffic will increase from an average of 8 trains per day to 22 trains per day, a nearly 200% increase in traffic.
  • Train length will increase from an average of 5,100 feet to 7,500 feet.
  • Car weight will increase by 23,000 pounds.
  • Trains will feature double stacked cars (vs. the single stacked cars used now).
  • Train speeds will increase to an average of 49 mph (except for within Columbus city limits, where the speed limit of 20 mph will be enforced).

Crossings Per Day

American Structurepoint also examined the number and types of vehicles crossing the impacted intersections in Columbus on a daily basis.  The numbers below illustrate the types of vehicles crossing these intersections each day.

Traffic Disruptions at SR 46 & SR 11

State Road 46 crossing is the worst crossing between Louisville and Indianapolis in terms of train delay.

You may review the options being considered to alleviate this issue at the State Road 46 and State Road 11 intersection below.

Alternatives Being Evaluated