BELLE FOURCHE, S.D. — Officials in Belle Fourche have dedicated a new rail line in the city’s industrial park.

The track is designed for businesses within the industrial park to load and unload product for shipment on rail, the Black Hills Pioneer reported ( ). The park currently has two businesses.

The Rapid City, Pierre and Eastern Railroad spans the length of South Dakota, from Belle Fourche to Minnesota. The rail yard is the first transload facility to serve industry and commerce in the Northern Black Hills area, and one of only two business sites in the state that’s certified business-ready with rail capabilities.

“Rail has been important to our state for a long, long time,” Sen. John Thune, R-S.D, said at the dedication ceremony earlier this month. “We want to make sure that we do everything to support the rail service so that they can continue to provide access to transportation for companies and businesses that want to start right here in Belle Fourche.”

The industrial park has about 79 acres of commercial and industrial real estate available for purchase by businesses seeking a production area alongside rail service.

Gov. Dennis Daugaard said that because South Dakota’s population is small, rail is especially essential to transport the goods produced in the region.

“We produce so much more than we can consume in South Dakota,” he said. “Whether you’re a farmer or a manufacturer, we need rail to get our products to market.”

Information from: Black Hills Pioneer,