Calverton rail spur would be redirected under new plan

09/24/2010 12:00 AM |

TIM GANNON PHOTO
The old rail spur ended on the western end of the existing
industrial park, near the Metro Biofuel refinery. Officials are
now hoping to redirect the tracks more toward the center of the
park.

Riverhead Town officials are looking to change the end plan for the rail spur restoration project underway in Calverton.
Currently, the plan is to terminate the rebuilt rail line at the western end of the Calverton Enterprise Park, near the Eastern Wholesale Fence and Metro Biofuel businesses. Both companies are planning to use freight to ship materials to and from the industrial park.
But Riverhead Supervisor Sean Walter, who along with town Councilman Jim Wooten — both men met with New York and Atlantic Railways on Wednesday — are saying the spur as planned is only going to benefit those two businesses.
New York and Atlantic is the company that handles freight rail on LIRR tracks. The spur was connected to the LIRR’s main line late Saturday.
The $4.8 million grant that made the long-anticipated project possible was funded by federal stimulus money.
Mr. Walter hopes to get a switch built farther east at the property and run the tracks north from there, more through the middle of the industrial park and along what’s known as Burman Boulevard, which runs north-south.
Following a contentious, 90-minute discussion, Mr. Wooten an fellow councilment John Dunleavy and George Gabrielsen eventually agreed, although Councilwoman Jodi Giglio, who worked as a consultant for Metro Biofuel before being elected to the Town Board, did not.
She said Metro Biofuel and Eastern Wholesale Fence made business decisions based on the expectation that the spur would be going past their businesses. It was always the understanding that freight cars carrying goods for other businesses in EPCAL would be unloaded at that location, where an expected “siding,” where train cars would stop, was to be built, she said.
The current spur project is expected to cost about $500,000 less than expected, and officials are hoping to be able to apply the extra money toward the construction of a new directional switch further east on the property, Mr. Walter said.
The original plan was to restore the existing old one, to the west.
Vincent Corrado of Dunn Engineering, a consultant working on the project for the town, said the spur’s main value is that it is now connected to the LIRR main line.
The EPCAL rail spur was once used to bring materials into the Grumman
Corporation, which stopped operations in Calverton in the mid-1990s. It’s been unused and disconnected from the main line for more than 20
years.
tgannon@timesreview.com

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