MONROE COUNTY has a new project that is on track to boost the oil and shale industry in the area.
The only railway to serve the county now is open for service. The first switching locomotive arrived last week and is now on station at the Hannibal Industrial Park.
That sets the stage for the arrival of initial rail freight with frac sand hopper cars in early May for one of the new tenants.
The new rail service is good news to the oil and gas business as it will haul sand, concrete and other materials used to crack Monroe County's Marcellus and Utica Shale formations.
With the industry becoming more of a major player in Eastern Ohio, the new rail service will undoubtedly aid in the expansion of such related ventures. The revived mode of transportation will help stimulate economic growth in Monroe County, as well as supporting existing manufacturing base.
Such is good news for a county which has weathered tough financial times. The burgeoning oil and gas development brings much hope and optimism to the Ohio Valley. Its effects are just starting to be felt in Monroe County.
The rail line will obviously expedite shale's role in the county's industrial base. Thus, we commend the efforts of those who brought the rail service back into operation.
This project involved restoration of a line which had not seen service for more than a decade. It was originally built by the Pennsylvania Railroad to service the Ormet aluminum plant at Hannibal.
While oil and gas are the biggest beneficiaries of the new rail service, the line harbors boundless opportunities for a much more diverse economic base in Monroe County, which has an 11 percent unemployment rate, placing it in the top 15 in the state.