Posts Tagged ‘Short line railroads’

Gulf & Atlantic Acquires 3 Midwest Short Lines

March 28, 2023

Short line holding company Gulf & Atlantic Railway has announced that it has acquired short line railroads operating in Ohio, Indiana and Illinois.

The properties include the Chesapeake & Indiana, which operates over 28 miles in northwest Indiana; the Camp Chase Railway, which operates 15 miles in Columbus, Ohio; and the Vermilion Valley, which operates 10 miles from the Illinois-Indiana border to Olin, Indiana.

The VV operates a locomotive shop at Olin that restores and repaints locomotives.

All three short lines were acquired from the Midwest & Bluegrass, which had in turn acquired them from Indiana Boxcar in September 2020.Indiana Boxcar still owns several units leased to the railroads.

G&A also owns the 430-mile Florida, Gulf & Atlantic and the 228-mile Grenada Railway in Mississippi.

M&B continues to own the Youngstown & Southeastern Railroad in Ohio and the Transkentucky Transportation Railroad.

Short Line Holding Companies Describe Capital Spending Plans for 2023

January 21, 2023

Executives of three short line holding companies that do business in Ohio and its surrounding states outlined their respective capital spending plans for this year during a conference of the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association.

The executives noted in their remarks that fueling their plans has been the availability of new federal grants for infrastructure projects.

Kristine Storm, Genesee & Wyoming’s vice president, procurement, said plans include replacement of 875,000 ties and 437 miles of rail.

G&W infrastructure spending for 2023 is $473 million, up from $410 million in 2022. The distribution of the engineering and mechanical funds will see 31 percent go to ties, 22 percent to rail, 12 percent to mechanical, 10 percent to surfacing, 8 percent to bridges, and the remainder to six other categories.

Other work to be done this year includes more than, 2,000 miles of track surfacing, $45 million in bridge work, replacement of 90 turnouts, rebuilding more than 300 grade crossings, and more than 100 new grade crossing signals.

G&W plans to install 54,000 feet of new track in six sidings and two yard projects.

Watco expects to increase spending on maintenance capital from $97.2 million in 2022 to $132 million in 2023.

Tom Holmes, Watco’s vice president, purchasing and materials, said that will include $42.1 million for ties and surfacing, and $12.5 million for bridges.

Watco has been awarded $155 million in Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvement grants with five of those grants devoted to rail infrasture projects. The other grant is for a battery locomotive project.

OmniTRAX plans to allot 80 percent of its capital budget to track, crossings, and signals. Bridges will receive half of the remaining funds, with 6 percent for buildings, 3 percent for locomotives and 1 percent for other items.

Short Line Overhauls GP30 to Boost Traction

August 18, 2022

Indiana Northeastern is upgrading one of its GP30 locomotives to improve its traction, Trains magazine reported on its website.

The former Reading Lines unit is being given new power assemblies and electrical upgrades.

Railroad officials told the magazine that the work is designed to avoid the wheel slippage that can occur when the locomotive begins pulling a heavy train.

EMD introduced the GP30 in 1961 and gave it a unique “skyline casing” along the cab and car body.

Operating 105 miles of track in Indiana, Ohio and Michigan, Indiana Northeastern has two GP30s on its motive power roster.

The overhaul work is being done at the railroad’s shop in Hudson, Indiana. It previously did mechanical work in a one-stall facility in Hillsdale, Michigan.

D&GV Buys 5 Geeps From Defunct Short Line

August 16, 2022

A West Virginia short line railroad has acquired five Geeps from a fellow Mountain State short line.

The Durbin & Greenbrier Valley Railroad purchased the units from the Elk River Railroad, which is now defunct.

The units include two GP10 rebuilds, two GP9s and a GP8. Two of units are said to need parts and repairs to become operational.

The other three units need more extensive work and may be used as a parts source rather than being restored to operating condition.

The D&GV is part of the West Virginia Central, which operates 132 miles of former Western Maryland Railway.

It moves freight to and from Elkins, and has operated excursion trains from Elkins to Tygart Junction; Elkins to Spruce; and Elkins to the High Falls of Cheat River.

Of those excursions only the High Falls trains are running today. The excursions to Spruce are expected to be revived later.

The GP10 units are of Illinois Central heritage, the two GP9s were built for the Norfolk & Western, and the other two Geeps once worked for the Wabash.

The Elk River was created in 1989 to haul coal from Avoca to an interchange with CSX at Gilmer. That business dried up in 1999.

It shut down shut down operations in March 2022. Since 1999 the Elk River has stored and repaired rolling stock for other railroads.

Eighteen miles of the Elk River right of way is owned by the West Virginia Railroad Authority.

Once part of the Buffalo Creek & Gauley Railroad, that right of way will be converted to a recreation trail.

2 Pa. Short Lines Receive ASLRRA Awards

August 10, 2022

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. 

Patriot Rail to Acquire Pioneer Lines

August 9, 2022

Short line operators Pioneer Lines and Patriot Rail have announced plans to merge.

The announcement said Patriot will acquire Pioneer in a transaction that will give Patriot 31 railroad systems. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Patriot currently has 16 rail lines, although none of them are located in Ohio or its surrounding states.

Pioneer has 15 rail lines including Elkhart & Western (Indiana), Gettysburg & Northern (Pennsylvania), Indiana Southwestern (Indiana), Kendallville Terminal Railway (Indiana), Michigan Southern (Michigan), and Napoleon Defiance & Western (Ohio and Indiana).

Aside from its short line properties, Patriot operates tank car clearing, transloading, contract switching, and railcar storage, among other services.

The acquisition is subject to regulatory approval.

G&W Says Shippers Invested $1.5B in 2021

March 24, 2022

Genesee & Wyoming said this week in a news release that its shippers had invested $1.5 billion in industrial development along its 103 U.S. railroads last year.

Those investments involved 69 projects that G&W said will generate more than 1,000 new jobs.

One of those projects is located in Delta, Ohio, which will receive from the Indiana & Ohio Railway inbound coils to make pipe.

G&W said it is the fourth steel customer to expand business along the I&O since 2015.

Another project includes a wind-turbine trans-loading site in Remington, Indiana, served by Toledo, Peoria & Western Railway.

G&W said it maintains a database of more than 600 potential industrial development properties across its U.S. railroads.

Pioneer Reports Injury Free Year

March 4, 2022

Short line operator Pioneer Line said this week it has achieved one year of operation without injuries at any of its 15 short lines.

In a news release, the company said its injury frequency rate is below the industry average of 2.18 per 200,000 employee on-duty hours.

In 2018 Pioneer companies had an injury rate of 15.96 in 2018. Railroad officials said changes in safety policies were made under new management that came onboard in 2019.

Pioneer Lines owns the Decatur Junction Railroad Elkhart & Western Railroad, Garden City Western Railway, Fort Smith Railroad, Georgia Southern Railroad, Gettysburg & Northern Railroad, Indiana Southwestern Railway, Kendallville Terminal Railway, Keokuk Junction Railway, Michigan Southern Railroad, Mississippi Central Railroad, Napoleon, Defiance and Western Railroad, Pioneer Industrial Railway Co., Ripley & New Albany Railroad, and Vandalia Railroad.

Watco to Take Over CN lines Jan. 29

January 26, 2022

Watco Company said it plans to assume control of several Canadian National branches in Michigan, Wisconsin and Ontario on Jan. 29.

Many of the branches were formerly operated by the Wisconsin Central, which CN acquired on Jan. 30, 2001.

All of the 142 miles of tackage in Michigan is located in the state’s upper peninsula and will be operated by Grand Elk Railroad, which already operates lines in the lower peninsula.

Grand Elk will base its operations in Newberry, Michigan, and use two GP38 locomotives. It will employ five workers.

In Wisconsin, the Fox Valley & Lake Superior will operate 329 miles of track, employ 27 and use eight locomotives, six SD40-2s and two GP40-3s.

In Ontario, Watco will operate on former Algoma Central track between Sault Ste. Marie and Oba.

Passengers excursion trains through the Agawa Canyon will be reinstated, the short line holding company said.

OmniTRAX Affiliates Help Local Food Banks

January 13, 2022

The Cleveland & Cuyahoga Railway was one of 14 OmniTRAX short line railroads that provided 1 million meals to local food banks in 2021.

Also participating was the Northern Ohio & Western. The carriers were part of the short line holding company’s Good Neighbor Program that provided food bank donations and local employee volunteers to support community meal pledges.

The Broe Group, which is the parent company of OmniTRAX, matched each food bank commitment.