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Rail News: Short Lines & Regionals

Red River Valley & Western to mark 25th anniversary


Tomorrow, the Red River Valley & Western Railroad Co. (RRV&W) will mark its 25th anniversary. RRV&W, which bills itself as "North Dakota’s regional railroad,” launched operations in July 1987 on track acquired from the Burlington Northern Railroad in central and southeastern North Dakota, and western Minnesota.

The 577-mile regional’s annual volume has increased 141 percent since 1987, climbing to 55,600 carloads in 2011. In addition, employment has risen from 46 to nearly 100 people with an annual payroll of $5.8 million.

Many new businesses have located or expanded facilities along the regional’s line in the past 25 years, including seven high-volume grain elevators capable of handling 110-car shuttle trains, RRV&W officials said in a prepared statement. In 1997, local cooperative ProGold built a large corn syrup manufacturing plant near Wahpeton, N.D., that’s now operated by Cargill, one of the railroad’s largest customers.

RRV&W also serves two ethanol plants in Casselton and Hankinson, and stages and temporarily stores trains to help ease rail congestion in the Bakken Shale oil fields.

Recently, the railroad partnered with Minn-Dak Farmers Cooperative in Wahpeton to build more than two miles of track, including a 7500-foot loop track, that's helping to expedite rail service at a sugar plant, said RRV&W President Andy Thompson.

“The biggest thing that has fueled the success of the RRV&W is the relationship we have created between the railroad and the customers and communities we serve,” he said. “Meeting and exceeding the expectations of our customers has been the No. 1 job of RRV&W employees.”

To celebrate its anniversary, RRV&W plans to operate a series of special passenger trains July 19-21 using passenger equipment furnished by BNSF Railway Co.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 7/18/2012