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6/5/2001



Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

Pioneer Railcorp spins off Indiana short-line subsidiary


Pioneer Railcorp June 4 announced a new railroad subsidiary, which the short-line holding company May 1 spun off from its Michigan Southern operation’s Elkhart, Ind., division.
Nine-mile Elkhart & Western Railroad Co. (EWR) will serve northern Indiana’s Elkhart and St. Joseph counties, running from a Norfolk Southern Railway (formerly Conrail) Elkhart interchange westward to Mishawaka, northeast of South Bend, Ind.
By operating the railroad as a separate entity, Pioneer Railcorp plans to gain marketshare — relying on EWR’s competitive access strengths — and simplify the short line’s interchanges with NS.
The short line originally connected with Grand Trunk Western Railroad, but was disconnected during Conrail’s ownership of the line. Pioneer Railcorp acquired the line three years ago.
Prior to the Conrail integration, Pioneer Railcorp negotiated a deal with NS, under which the holding company secured a second interchange connection with CSX Transportation in Fort Wayne, Ind., per a haulage agreement. Due to the two Class I connections, Pioneer Railcorp’s EWR subsidiary is able to offer competitive access to Elkhart, Goshen, Mishawaka and South Bend shippers.
"Both the online and transload prospects are significant, given the large industrial base in Elkhart and St. Joseph counties," said Guy Brenkman, Pioneer Railcorp president and chief executive officer, in a prepared statement, adding that EWR currently is establishing full-time crews in the area and developing business prospects.


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