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1/15/2003



Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

RailAmerica hits the ground running on 2003 growth plans


RailAmerica Inc. appears to be off to a fast business-generation and revenue-building start in 2003.


On Jan. 15, the short-line holding announced that 290-mile Toledo, Peoria & Western Railway Corp. (TP&W) recently purchased 40 track miles from Cargill Industries for $1.85 million. The Winamac-to-Logansport, Ind., line will enable TP&W to solidify its connection to RailAmerica's Winamac Southern Railroad, a 43-mile short line that connects to the holding company's Central Railroad of Indianapolis.


By purchasing instead of leasing the line, TP&W can save more than $600,000 in capital costs, RailAmerica said in a prepared statement.


Meanwhile, the company's 73-mile Chesapeake & Albemarle Railroad Co. (C&A) recently finalized an agreement with Norfolk Southern Railway to lease four track miles between Butts and Chesapeake, Va.


Having assumed operation of the line Jan. 4, C&A hopes to convert several thousand truckloads to rail over the next few years.


And RailAmerica's Dallas, Garland & Northeastern Railroad Inc. (DGNO) recently purchased from Kansas City Southern 2.6 track miles, right of way, real-estate leases and facilities in western Dallas for $850,000.


DGNO also signed a six-year agreement to handle KCS' Dallas-area interchange traffic with Union Pacific Railroad, which would generate about $1 million in annual revenue. DGNO and KCS expect to complete the transactions in the first quarter.


"These acquisitions will allow us to preserve and improve rail service for our customers in Texas, the Midwest and Virginia, as well as grow business on our core base of North American railroads," said RailAmerica Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Gary Marino.


Finally, Southern California Regional Rail Authority (SCRRA) recently awarded RailAmerica a standby operating services contract to provide more than 100 conductors and engineers for SCRRA's MetroLink commuter trains in case Amtrak is unable to fulfill its primary operator duties. The contract runs from Jan. 1 to June 30, 2004.


"Effectively, we have expanded the scope and diversity of our operations with minimal capital expenditure," said Marino.


Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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