Northern Plains Rail Services plans to build a railcar servicing and repair facility in Grand Forks, which will bring at least 20 jobs to the area.

According to Northern Plains Rail Services spokeswoman Julie Chalich, the rail company expects construction on the Grand Plains Rail Center to begin in mid-2019.

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"Our initial workforce for the car repair operation will consist of some 20 employees, with room for growth," Chalich said.

This project has been in the planning phases for a year, Chalich said.

The first phase of the project will take between four and five months from the starting point to the company's initial in-service date. Phase one, Chalich said, would include a rail car repair center. Future phases could include services such as transloading, locomotive services and rail car switching and storage activity.

The Grand Forks facility will offer repair and cleaning services as well as storage and switching services. This facility will complement an existing repair facility in Erskine, Minn.

NPRS is financing the project with Alerus and the North Dakota Department of Transportation. The company is using the Department of Transportation's Rail Loan program.

The Grand Plains site will be 283 acres and located near Interstate 29 south of 23rd Avenue North. This site has excellent road access and is connected to the BNSF rail, the company said.

Northern Plains Rail Services provides rail services in seven upper Midwest states and across western Canada.