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By Pat Foran, Editor
On Oct. 29, Regional Rail LLC announced it had agreed to acquire Pinsly Railroad Co.’s Florida operations totaling 208 miles of track.
The operations include the Florida Central, Florida Midland and Florida Northern railroads. The transaction is subject to Surface Transportation Board (STB) approval.
The short lines provide freight transportation, transload and rail-car storage services to a broad customer base of more than 65 “blue-chip” companies. The short lines move a range of products in various markets, including heating, fuel blending, building products, chemicals, food and agriculture, scrap, metal and plastic resins, Regional Rail officials said in a press release issued by 3i Group, the company’s financial backer. Pinsly’s Florida operations are located in and around Orlando and Tampa.
“The operations are highly complementary to Regional Rail and expand our geographic footprint,” said Regional Rail Chief Executive Officer Al Sauer, adding the company intended to retain all the short lines’ employees.
Combined, the Pinsly short lines and Regional Rail will operate 21 line segments across four states, said Rob Collins, managing partner of 3i North American Infrastructure.
“The U.S. short-line network is attractive to 3i and the combined company will be well-positioned for potential future acquisitions,” Collins said.
3i invested in Regional Rail in July. Regional Rail currently provides freight transportation, rail-car storage and transloading services in New York, Pennsylvania and Delaware.
In other news that supports independent transportation analyst and RailTrends® program consultant Tony Hatch’s decree that 2019 is “The Year of the Short Line”:
• In September, a managed affiliate of OmniTRAX Inc. completed the acquisition of the 101 year-old Winchester & Western Railroad (WW) from Covia Holdings Corp. WW — which operates in Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia and New Jersey — joined Cleveland & Cuyahoga Railway, Cleveland Port Railway, Alabama & Tennessee River Railway LLC and Fulton County Railway LLC on the list of recent OmniTRAX acquisitions, according to an item posted on OmniTRAX’s website.
• In October, Rio Grande Pacific Corp. (RGPC) sought an exemption from the STB to acquire control of Big Spring Rail System Inc. (BSRS). Established in 2012, BSRS operates 3.3 miles of track owned by the city of Big Spring, Texas, and interchanges with Union Pacific Railroad. The transaction was expected to be completed by October’s end or sometime in November. RGPC currently owns four short lines operating in Idaho, Louisiana, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas.