Progressive Railroading


Newsletter Sign Up
Stay updated on news, articles and information for the rail industry

All fields are required.

Rail News Home Short Lines & Regionals


Rail News: Short Lines & Regionals

Apache Railway changes hands, continues operations

The Apache Railway Co. announced yesterday that it was purchased by a group formed by the Aztec Land and Cattle Co. Ltd. and other related entities.

The Apache's management will remain in place, and its 21-employee workforce is expected to continue expanding to meet demand, according to a press release issued by the Arizona Commerce Authority (ACA); the town of Snowflake, Ariz.; Navajo County, Ariz.; and financial lender Clearinghouse CDFI.

The thee-year effort to save the Apache began after the 2012 closure of the Catalyst Paper Mill, which later led a California investment group to purchase the mill and the railway out of bankruptcy. Leaders in Navajo County, then formed the Snowflake Community Foundation (SFC) to purchase the Apache from the investment group using short-term financing, officials said in the release.

Shot of an Apache Railway train
Photo: Flickr user Drew Jacksich
Under SFC's ownership over the past three years, the railway continued operations and became profitable again. However, in May 2015, SFC filed for U.S. Bankruptcy Court protection as it continued to seek permanent financing for the railway, officials said. The court had established a Nov. 30 deadline for SCF's debt to be repaid.

Last week, the court approved the sale of the Apache stock to the new ownership group.

The deal, which closed Nov. 30, extinguishes SFC's debt and related liens on Apache assets and allows the railway to continue operations.

"The case of the Apache Railway demonstrates how public and private interests should work together," said Steve Brophy, president of the Apache Railway Co. "In saving the Apache, both gave full measure so that our community might live well and prosper. A fully functioning Apache Railway will attract new businesses, and gives Navajo County the necessary underpinnings for job growth and the resulting economic benefit for the entire community, now and into the future."

Through a collaborative local and state effort, equity investors were found to contribute significant capital to the acquisition of the railroad. The effort was complemented with a $2.5 million joint loan from the ACA's Arizona Innovation Accelerator Fund program ($1.75 million) and Arizona MultiBank ($750,000).

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 12/2/2015