2 Pa. Short Lines Receive ASLRRA Awards

Two Pennsylvania-based short line railroads have been awarded business development awards by the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association.

In a statement ASLRRA President Chuck Baker said the awards are about honoring carriers that get one more carload or one more customer at a time.

“It’s the first thing they think about in the morning and the last thing they think about going to bed,” he said. “It’s the existential imperative to grow the business, and you can’t do that by just sitting there. You’ve got to conjure up new business.” 

Honored with the 2022 awards were the Allegheny Valley Railroad and the North Shore Railroad’s Union County Industrial Railroad. North Shore previously won the award in 2004 and 2017.

The AVE operates 77 miles of track in the greater Pittsburgh area and was recognized for establishing a Pittsburgh-area transload facility that has served the local steel industry since January 2021.  

The facility is located on four acres in Glenwood Yard and has an overhead gantry crane and a more than 1,000-foot side track. It serves Pittsburgh and surrounding markets in Ohio and West Virginia. 

AVR is owned by Carload Express, which describes itself as seeking to either add business with existing customers by diverting trucks, adding new business through industrial development or providing transload services to reach shippers who aren’t otherwise rail accessible.

“Pittsburgh is known as a steel-producing mecca, but raw steelmaking no longer is a big thing there. Now, there are lots of processing facilities in the area. We saw a demand for a transload facility in the area,” said Mike Filoni, chief marketing officer.

The Union County Industrial Railroad operates over 18.2 miles of track in central Pennsylvania and serves eight customers.

Its marketing efforts enabled it to increase carloads 300 percent over a recent 10-year period with no Federal Railroad Administration-reportable injuries. 

Railroad officials said it achieved this by providing customer service, customizing business processes to meet customers’ needs, fostering trust from shippers and deepening customer relationships.

UCIR was able to land a new customer in Country View Family Farms, which is constructing a $47.3 million, 100-plus-acre feed mill expansion plant in New Columbia, Pennsylvania,

That facility is expected to open in 2024 or 205 and support Country View’s hog production business. 

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