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Pacific Imperial Railroad Inc. (PIR) yesterday announced Donald Stoecklein has opted to retire as president to focus on his family and other ventures.He has played a key role in developing PIR since the railroad in December 2012 signed a 99-year lease with the San Diego and Arizona Eastern Railway Co. and San Diego Metropolitan Transit System to provide freight-rail service on the Desert Line, which serves the Tijuana-Tecate region of Baja California, Mexico and eastern San Diego County, PIR officials said in a press release. The railroad is working with JL Patterson to complete necessary engineering and construction plans for line upgrades that must be completed prior to launching service."Donald has worked tirelessly to put us in the position we are today," said PIR Chief Executive Officer Ernie Dahlman. "His hard work has helped create this opportunity, and it is our job to realize his vision of servicing the cross-border commerce and trade in the most efficient, cost-effective and safest way that we can."The railroad has been meeting with executives who have significant railroad construction and operations experience for upper management posts, PIR officials said."As we transform into an operational company, hiring an experienced rail operational management team is imperative to our success," said Dahlman.After line reconstruction work is completed, PIR will be the only company providing freight-rail services on the 70-mile Desert Line, according to the railroad. PIR's 130-mile system will link with BNSF Railway Co. and San Diego and Imperial Valley Railroad lines in southwestern San Diego County, and a Union Pacific Railroad line near El Centro, Calif.Meanwhile, OmniTRAX Inc. named Trent Weber director of business development for OmniTRAX Canada.Weber will be responsible for commercial sales, marketing and account management functions for the Hudson Bay Railway Co. and Carlton Trail Railway Co. Weber will report to Vice President of Industrial Development Lenny Berz and be based in OmniTRAX Canada's Winnipeg, Manitoba, office.Weber most recently was director of transportation and marketing for the Inland Terminal Group, where he managed the Winnipeg office and oversaw outbound rail transportation and merchandising of oats and malting barley for three producer-owned grain companies.He previously served the Canadian Wheat Board's transportation division for three years and held various positions at Canadian Pacific, including port coordinator-Vancouver Grain and account manager-grain for Saskatchewan Wheat Pool, Paterson Grain and Parrish & Heimbecker Ltd.OmniTRAX Canada owns and operates the Port of Churchill, Manitoba, and provides all stevedoring services. Rail service to the port is provided by the Hudson Bay Railway.
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