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Rail News: Short Lines & Regionals

ASLRRA names three 2012 Marketing Award winners


The American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association (ASLRRA) recently named the Arkansas Midland Railroad, Finger Lakes Railway Corp. and R.J. Corman Railroad Group/Pennsylvania Lines as winners of the 2012 Marketing Awards.

Presented for the 17th straight year, the awards recognize regional and short-line members’ efforts to develop new business and react quickly to changing business situations, according to the ASLRRA.

“A number of entries also illustrated how short lines and their Class I partners can cooperate to gain business for both parties,” association officials said in an announcement, adding that the ASLRRA received 21 entries this year from 20 member railroads.

The association is honoring the Arkansas Midland Railroad (AKMD) for initiating programs to recapture inbound aluminum ingot and outbound coil traffic business lost to trucks. The short line serves Reynolds Packaging Group’s aluminum rolling mill in Hot Springs, Ark., by delivering rail cars of aluminum ingots to the mill — where the metal is melted, processed and rolled into 32,500-pound coils — and transporting coils to Reynolds’ Louisville, Ky., plant for final processing.

Owned by Pinsly Railroad Co., AKMD worked with Union Pacific Railroad and Norfolk Southern Railway to improve communications, car supply and service, including the addition of extra NS switches at the Louisville plant. Now, 95 percent of the coils are moved by rail again. To boost inbound aluminum ingot traffic, AKMD initiated a haulage agreement with UP and the Little Rock Port Railroad, and relied on sister company Railroad Distribution Services to receive and store ingots.

The ASLRRA is recognizing the Finger Lakes Railway (FGLK) for procuring new sources of limestone, sand and soda ash to retain business from a bottle plant in Sennett, N.Y. Owens Brockway opted to concentrate on the white flint bottle market after losing Anheuser Busch’s beer bottle business, a shift that required significant changes to raw material requirements. Last year, FGLK set up cross-functional teams with CSX Transportation, NS and Owens Brockway, and developed competitive rates from alternate suppliers of limestone, sand and soda ash.

The short line also improved service by pre-blocking cars and developing more efficient interchanges, while Owens Brockway agreed to unload cars seven days per week. FGLK’s carloads with Owens Brockway jumped from 860 in 2010 to 1,302 in 2011.

Finally, R.J. Corman Railroad Group/Pennsylvania Lines earned the ASLRRA honor for its efforts to provide service for Rosebud Mining Co., Pennsylvania’s third-largest underground coal producer. Coal previously was loaded onto trucks and moved 50 miles to Rosebud’s cleaning plant in Bigler, Pa. But local residents complained about truck congestion and traffic accidents, and coal lost during transport resulted in excessive coal dust on roads, automobiles and nearby property.

After holding numerous meetings with Rosebud Mining officials, R.J. Corman executives purchased locomotives and cars, bought an excavator to unload rail cars and hired three new employees to operate the excavator. Working with NS, R.J. Corman also developed a train schedule. Now, three 60-car trains per week move from Cherry Tree, Pa., to Bigler. After transporting 400,000 tons for Rosebud Mining during portions of 2011, R.J. Corman expects to move 1.1 tons for the coal producer in 2012.

The ASLRRA will present the Marketing Awards to the three winners at a networking awards dinner to be held April 24 during the association’s annual convention in Indianapolis.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 4/3/2012