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Sinkhole repairs happen, rail cars disappear

A number of tanker rail cars parked on a stretch of North Shore Railroad near the Nittany Mall were moved Thursday. The railroad also worked on repairs to a sinkhole that opened under the cars due to a drainage issue.
A number of tanker rail cars parked on a stretch of North Shore Railroad near the Nittany Mall were moved Thursday. The railroad also worked on repairs to a sinkhole that opened under the cars due to a drainage issue. Centre Daily Times, file

Wait a minute ... where are all those train cars?

For months and months, the calls have been coming from people with the same question.

“What’s up with all the train cars?”

Dozens and dozens of tanker cars sat on the rails along East College Avenue, across the street from the Nittany Mall. The cars kept going down the line, with a few breaks, all the way to Rockview state prison.

Until Thursday.

That was when, all of a sudden, many of those empty tankers were finally moved.

“The movement of the rail cars today was to send some of those cars off line per the customer’s instructions,” said Jeb Stotter, vice president and chief operating officer of the North Shore Railroad Co.

Stotter said last month that the cars were just being parked on the stretch of track while they were not being utilized for regular freight service. A little-used piece of line is sometimes used as a de facto parking lot when the rail cars aren’t needed.

But that wasn’t the only activity on the line.

Workers were also making repairs on a sinkhole that opened under a portion of that rail.

Stotter said in May that the sinkhole had recently developed due to a drainage issue and anticipated that work would be completed “by the end of June.”

The end of June turned out to be the last day of June. The work required stone, pipe and ballast to fix the opening under the metal rails.

Stotter said work was to be completed Thursday.

Lori Falce: 814-235-3910, @LoriFalce

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