Business owners worry burned rail bridge won't be replaced
PEMBINA COUNTY, ND--A fire burns through a rail bridge in Pembina County, but it's the aftermath that's causing concern for local businesses. WDAY's Kenneth Chase looked into why some say profits may be going up in smoke. Ash and charred wood are...
PEMBINA COUNTY, ND--A fire burns through a rail bridge in Pembina County, but it's the aftermath that's causing concern for local businesses.
WDAY's Kenneth Chase looked into why some say profits may be going up in smoke.
Ash and charred wood are all that remains of a 50 foot rail bridge.
The bridge is used by area businesses to ship commodities.
Cavalier Bean Company is one of four plants in town that rely on rail.
But last week, a fire took out this bridge.
And the rail company is refusing to pay to replace it.
"Nothing destroys communities quicker in Rural America,” said Curt Kirking, of Cavalier Bean Company.
WDAY News found out the rail is owned by BNSF, but leased by Dakota Northern.
A letter Curt Kirking received earlier in the month says they're unwilling to pay for any repairs because of financial reasons.
WDAY called the company Monday, but they refused to comment.
With no working rail, companies have few other options to send beans elsewhere.
"You can generally figure that shipping by truck is going to be roughly 30 to 40% higher than by rail,” said Kirking.
A cut into profits that could be too high for some businesses and could hurt the agricultural community.
"We've contacted the federal government, our state legislature, the government of the state of North Dakota. We as individual users of the railroad have also talked to putting money toward repairing it just as quickly as possible," said Kirking.
It's a fix, business owners are so desperate for with harvest season just a handful of weeks away.
"We're next to the end of the earth as far as the railroad is concerned. We just hope that they recognize we're still here," said Kirking.
People in the small town hoping things will get back on track.