Bankrupt Columbus Foundry That Made Railroad Car Components Sold, Not Expected to Reopen

A Columbus foundry that made products for the railroad industry will not reopen following its sale during bankruptcy proceedings.

Columbus Castings, which specialized in making parts for rail passenger cars, laid off its 800 employees last May after its parent company, Constellation Enterprises, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

columbus castingsIn announcing the bankruptcy filing, Constellation had cited weak demand for rail-car components, an aging facility and ongoing legal issues with state and federal environmental regulators.

At one point, A New York based private equity firm had said it would buy Columbus Castings plant on Parsons Avenue and reopen it.

But it was unable to reach a deal with Constellation and now the site of Columbus Castings has been sold to Reich Brothers, Inc., which has offices in White Plains, New York, and Los Angeles.

A Delaware bankruptcy court judge has approved the sale, which netted $29.7 million.

Reich Brothers has indicated it wanted the foundry for its real estate. It announced earlier this week that it would develop the site into an environmentally-friend mixed use development.

The primary component made at Columbus Castings was rail-car undercarriages, some of which are made nowhere else in the United States.

“This is a supplier that’s been around for more than a hundred years, and they make a good product,” said Ken Prendergast, executive director of All Aboard Ohio, a rail passenger advocacy group, in an interview with the Columbus Dispatch. “Amtrak and commuter-rail authorities depend on this. So it’s going to be a difficult thing.”

Columbus Castings had been making parts for Nippon Sharyo, which is building rail passenger cars in Illinois that are expected to be used in Amtrak corridor service in the Midwest and on the West Coast.

Several vendors who supplied parts to Columbus Castings are still owed money and are unlikely to be paid.

In 2015, Columbus Castings had $92 million in sales and a payroll of $34 million. The company had hoped to attract government support to keep the foundry open.

Joe Blaney, the chief financial officer of Columbus Castings. was disappointed that the foundry will apparently not reopen.

“I have stuck with this company and this bankruptcy process to the bitter end because I firmly believe it is in everyone’s best interest to keep this company alive,” he told the Columbus Dispatch. “Personally, I am not a fan of tearing apart a company for profit, especially one that has a heartbeat.

“Railroads are not going away, and are not changing the technology by which they construct and use locomotives and rail cars. With the intellectual property (patents) Columbus Castings holds on various rail products, there will always be sales ready for the taking.”

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2 Responses to “Bankrupt Columbus Foundry That Made Railroad Car Components Sold, Not Expected to Reopen”

  1. Jim H Says:

    Believe it or not, the Columbus Castings website is still up and running.

    http://www.columbuscastings.com/home.html

  2. Jim Says:

    Update: an auction was held 12/7 and 12/8. Everything not sold is now being liquidated. I’d guess if no one purchases the remaining equipment it’ll be sold for scrap. See – http://reichbros.com/sale-event/columbus-castings-liquidation/

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