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Calverton rail plan closer to completion

The last legal obstacle to completing a rail spur into the Enterprise Park at Calverton industrial property has been eliminated, with Riverhead Town and the U.S. Navy reaching agreement to allow the track to cross a parcel of land owned by the federal government.

The nearly 3,000-acre property, once used by Grumman to assemble F-14 Tomcat jet fighters for the Navy, was sold to Riverhead after the operation was closed in 1994. Some small parcels remained in the Navy’s possession because they required pollution cleanup.

A year ago, the Long Island Rail Road agreed to reactivate a rail spur that had served Grumman. The spur has the potential to take hundreds of trucks a week off the road and reduce transportation costs for the industrial firms at the enterprise park, known as EPCAL.

The $5 million renovation calls for 1,800 feet of new track, which would be able to handle modern freight cars and provide more efficient service.

But a section of track would have to cross a Navy-owned site. The agreement signed this week allows the track to be built and relieves the Navy of any liability on its land.

Town officials say the completed spur should open by the end of next month.

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