Massillon Short-Line Railroad Creates North America’s Largest Pipe Yard, Soybeans, Cement Are Next Projects

A short-line railroad established three years ago in Massillon has established the largest pipe yard in North America.

Republic Short Line Railroad has also forged deals to store and distribute cement, and to transload soybeans in export containers.

Working out of a logistics park in Massillon, Republic interchanges with CSX and Norfolk Southern. The NS interchange is in Massillon while the CSX interchange is reached via R.J. Corman’s Cleveland Line to Warwick.

A profile of the short line in Progressive Railroading magazine said that Republic is owned by Massillon Logistics and operates on five tracks.

It was founded in 2004 when Steve and Dave DiPietro bought 464 acres of former steel mill property.  It took the two several years to raze buildings and clear the site.

Not all of the business that Massillon Logistics envisioned for the site involves rail. Four other subsidiaries use the logistics park including Republic Trucking and Logistics, Ohio Freight Car Services, Tiger Sand & Gravel, and Tiger Tarps & Liners.

The pipe is being stored for Energy Transfer Partners, which is planning a 713-mile pipeline that will be used to pump natural gas from the Marcellus and Utica shale fields to markets in the Great Lakes, Midwest and Gulf Coast regions, as well as to points in Canada. One segment is expected to link eastern Ohio and southeastern Michigan.

Pipe began being moved by rail to the logistics park in 2015. About 70,000 pieces of pipe and components were moved by rail to the Massillon site, an average of two unit trains per week.

Officials said that although 90 percent of the pipe came in by rail, all of it will be moved out by truck, a process that began earlier this year.

Deliveries of the pipe are expected to conclude late this year.

Next up will be cement brought to the site for Argos USA. The cement will be stored and transloaded.

Starting in July, Argos will begin shipping via NS from its facility in Martinsburg, West Virginia, to Massillon.

In Ohio, the cement will be pumped into silos and then loaded into trucks for delivery.

However, some commodities will be trucked to the Massillon storage yard, loaded into rail cars and moved to eastern ports.

Republic and Deerfield Farms have an agreement to use Maersk Line containers for this soybeans transloading operation.

Facilities for the soybean transloading will be completed by August and Republic expects to handle 1 million bushels in the first year of operation.

The short line is eying similar arrangements with corn, wheat and fertilizers.

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