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Rail News: Short Lines & Regionals
ASLRRA honors three small railroads' marketing efforts
Today, the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association (ASLRRA) named Green Mountain Railroad Corp. (GMRC), Montana Rail Link (MRL) and the Reading, Blue Mountain and Northern Railroad Co. (RBMN) as the winners of its 2014 Marketing Awards.
The award program demonstrates regionals' and short lines' dedication to provide excellent customer service and react to changing market conditions — the hallmarks of the short-line industry, ASLRRA officials said at the association's annual conference in San Diego.
ASLRRA recognized GMRC for working with a large New England propane and heating oil retailer to build a public propane distribution terminal in Rockingham, Vt. Owned by Vermont Rail System (VRS), GMRC engaged Dead River Co. to be the construction manage for the terminal — which was built by VRS — and operating agent for the railroad. Funding was provided by the state of Vermont, GMRC and Dead River, the retailer. In winter, 10 cars arrived at the terminal daily and annual volume is projected to reach 2,000 carloads.
ASLRRA recognized MRL for helping to form the Forest Products Retention Roundtable with Montana wood products industry constituents to save the state's forest products business amid multiple mill closures. MRL searched for new business opportunities with domestic paper mills, new paper mills in Japan and China, and log exporters in British Columbia. The regional's own fleet of over 250 log cars and 100 chip cars — an owned fleet that's rare among railroads — helped revive the state's forest products industry by serving a new $6 million chip mill in Bonner that was built on the site of a plywood mill that closed in 2007. Last year, MRL's new business generated 300 inbound loads of logs and 2,500 outbound carloads of wood chips.
ASLRRA also recognized RBMN for turning two underused yards into transload and storage terminals for aluminum customers. A RBMN customer previously trucked stored aluminum from various locations to its Cressona, Pa., plant until the railroad created the storage terminal to store a large quantity of aluminum ingots. Now, RBMN employees manage and operate the transload and storage facility in a portion of the former Cressona Yard, including the segregation of ingots by their metallurgical characteristics and inventory control. RBMN also converted a portion of its Penobscot Yard near Mountain Top, Pa., to handle aluminum logs that previously were trucked from Cressona. RBMN's efforts are projected to convert over 1,500 loads from truck to rail annually.
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