"Our" View: The Railroad

by Jordan Green

When Blackwell got hit by flooding last month, everyone scrambled to take care of homes and businesses that were damaged. The response was overwhelming, and it did a lot in the way of helping the displaced.

But in all of the hustle and bustle, there's one business that got left behind when everyone started talking about recovery: the local railroad.

The Blackwell Northern Gateway Railroad has provided rail access to our fair city for a number of years, bringing money into the local economy through employment and sales tax revenue. It also provides important shipping and logistics services for local industries.

Even though trains aren't running down the tracks each and every day, the railroad is very active in storing rail cars for larger railroads. It runs from Wellington, KS to Blackwell. In Wellington, the BNG hooks in with other major railroads, allowing local industries to connect via rail to points all across the U.S.

You might be surprised to learn what an impact our railroad has on our city's efforts to diversify and grow its economy. When industries are looking for a place to locate, they want to come to a place that can be easily accessed by road and by rail. By having a railroad, Blackwell has a good “leg up” on competing cities.

That's why we need to get it repaired.

Due to heavy flooding in May, the railroad was severely damaged. While some of the damage has already been repaired at the railroad's expense, the company simply can't afford to make all of the repairs needed to reopen the railroad back into Blackwell. Currently, the railroad has a lot of damage near South Haven, KS, Braman, and Blackwell.

The damaged portions of track are owned by the Blackwell Industrial Authority and the Oklahoma Department of Transportation.

We encourage all involved parties to come together to find a solution that gets our railroad moving again.