Path Home Shows 2011 Show Archive February 2011 Show 1106 Avard Railway

Avard Railway

We visit Avard, Oklahoma, where an effort is underway to increase rail access from western Oklahoma to the world.
Avard Railway

Railroad Crossing

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Northwest Technology Center
Avard History

Show Dates

Show 1106: Avard Railway

Air date: February 6, 2011



Rob McClendon:  Well moving now from our waterways to an effort to increase rail access from western Oklahoma to the rest of the world.  Joining me now is our Andy Barth.

Andy Barth:  Well Rob, while it may not look like much now, a plot of land just outside Alva, Oklahoma, has residents there excited about the possibilities.

Andy:  As the train rolls through, possibilities take form.  The folks of Avard, Oklahoma, plan to build a railway, making a worldwide market cheaper to access by local farmers.

[sound of phone ringing]

Sonja Williams:  Woods County Economic Development.

Andy:  Sonja Williams is overseeing the project for the Economic Development Committee for Woods County.

Sonja Williams:  We have at Avard, the intersection of the Burlington-Northern Santé Fe Transcontinental Line, which is double-tracked from Chicago to Los Angeles; and, it intersects with the Avard sub line, which goes to the Port of Catoosa.

Andy:  A line that will make it possible for farmers to rail their wheat rather than truck it; making it safer and more profitable.  Something that should help bring a spark back to a shrinking community.

Sonja:  We’re just looking at a resource that we have not tapped into.  Since 1960, we have lost 41.1% of our population in Woods County; we used to have almost 12,000 people here, and now we’re pushing 7800.

Andy:  But, that’s all about to change; according to Williams, an estimated 600 jobs will be added for the project, as well as, 50 million to 100 million dollars invested in payroll.

Sonja:  You know, this is one project that everybody has been behind.  We have not been told no for anything.  Every community in Woods County has passed a resolution to support the project.  All of them have given money towards the preliminary stuff, upfront cost.

Andy:  A tiny town with a big idea, working to keep its local industry connected to the world.  Now the region has been blessed with an abundance of natural resources, but has been unable to extract economic opportunities from them due to the lack of infrastructure.

Rob:  So, are agricultural products going to be the main commodity that moves through this park?

Andy:  Well, that’s a large part of it Rob, but let me read you a list here.  They also produce:  iodine, gypsum, lignite, uranium, copper, salt, flagstone, bentonite, and brine water, just to name a few.

Rob:  And not to mention all the oil and natural gas production out west.

Andy:  Absolutely

Rob:  Alright, thank you so much Andy.