BNSF files to abandon tracks

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BNSF Railway Co. has filed paperwork with the federal Surface Transportation Board to abandon 2.7 miles of rail line through Kalispell.

The filing is an integral step in the city of Kalispellís Core Area Redevelopment Plan that calls for a trail system to be built on the rail bed through the heart of Kalispell.

Mission Mountain Railroad LLC, the leaseholder and local rail service operator on the line, will seek authority to discontinue its service over the rail line, according to BNSF. Two rail customers, Northwest Drywall & Building Supply and CHS Inc., are relocating to Glacier Rail Park and do not oppose the abandonment, BNSF said in its filing.

BNSF further said the rail line does not contain any federally granted rights-of-way. The Surface Transportation Board will make a final decision by Aug. 14.

Earlier this year the city and Flathead County Economic Development Authority reached an agreement with Northwest Drywall & Building Supply to relocate to the rail-served business park that is being developed off Whitefish Stage Road.

CHS last year agreed to move its facilities to the rail park. The company will sell its three existing facilities ó its Idaho Street store, the Center Street grain elevator and an agronomy facility on Fourth Avenue East North ó to the Flathead County Economic Development Authority for redevelopment after the move.

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