The Grenada line, now owned by Gulf & Atlantic Railways, was on the verge of being abandoned in 2014, particularly when a critical 90-mile stretch between Grenada and Canton deteriorated significantly. State and local officials stepped in to save this vital artery. In addition, federal agencies provided critical funding through grants, most notably the FASTLANE grant in 2017 and the Federal Railroad Administration's Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvement (CRISI) grant in 2020.
CEO Ryan Ratledge, speaking on behalf of Gulf & Atlantic Railways, expressed pride in their role in restoring this vital transportation infrastructure. He emphasised the long-term economic opportunities that the revitalised Grenada rail line will bring to north central Mississippi.
Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss, expressed his satisfaction, saying, "For more than a decade, we have worked to restore this vital rail link through our state. Today, we celebrated that all of our efforts have come to fruition. This project represents growth and a brighter economic future for Mississippi, and I am pleased to have been a part of the process.
Brad White, Executive Director of the Mississippi Department of Transportation, acknowledged the collaborative effort required at various levels of government to bring this impactful project to fruition. He emphasised the importance of a robust multimodal transportation network in the state and the integral role that rail plays in that network. White is excited about the positive economic impact the rehabilitation and upgrading of the Grenada rail line will have on Mississippi.
The Grenada Railroad operates 235 miles of track running north-south along the I-55 corridor between Canton, Mississippi and Memphis, Tennessee. It is strategically located with access to six Class I carriers: Canadian National (CN), Union Pacific (UP), Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF), Norfolk Southern (NS), Kansas City Southern (KCS), and CSX Transportation (CSX).