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(c) 2010 WBNG News
 
Owego, NY (WBNG Binghamton) The Owego Harford rail line will undergo some improvements soon. The 26-mile track runs mainly along Route 38 in Tioga County. It has seen an increase in traffic over the years, and is expected to see a boom in the next few.

It's a $1.2 million dollar investment the State of New York is making in the Owego-Hartford Railway -- a wise investment say businesses who utilize the line.

Controller Steve May says the funding will help him add secondary lines, revitalize and upgrade tracks and bridges.

Upstate Shredding is one of his biggest customers. It says the improvements will improve their business.

"It can help us get a large amount fast, but it's also good for the area because it keeps a lot of truck traffic off the roads," says Adam Weitsman of Upstate Shredding.

It's not just good for businesses already servicing Owego-Harford. It could invite others to do the same.

"There will be more investment in our community, which of course always leads to jobs," said Doug Barton, Tioga County Economic Development.

One of the initial investments Tioga County expects are those from a growing industry in the Twin Tiers -- "the gas industry," Barton said. "The products that they use -- from pipe to sand, all can be transported by truck or by rail. But, of course, it's much more efficient by rail."

There are a few companies along the track which provide infrastructure for wells being drilled not far away.

"It's indicative of the impact that the natural gas industry in Pennsylvania is having on us being so close to them," Barton said.

By 2012, Owego-Harford expects to carry 5- to 6-thousand cars on its tracks.

"We're going to continue growing our rail business here so as the rail business grows, we can grow alongside it," Weitsman said.

When Owego-Harford took over the line in 1994, it carried only 30 cars. May says work will begin after the state grant arrives, which he says could come around springtime.

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