GAF plans 2nd plant on North Shore rails

Written by Stuart Chirls, Senior Editor
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Rail operations on the Union County Industrial Railroad in New Columbia, Pa., 2017. YouTube/Steven Shambach

The largest U.S. maker of roofing products, citing “excellent rail service,” is opening a second manufacturing facility in central Pennsylvania.

The new GAF plant in New Columbia, Union County, will total 430,000 square feet and is located next to the company’s roofing materials production facility opened there in 2017.

Both will be served by the Union County Industrial Railroad, part of the network of short lines operated by North Shore Railroad Co., Railway Age’s 2017 Short Line of the Year based in Northumberland.

Construction is slated to begin in 2019 with operations to commence in 2020.

The location was chosen for its “talented workforce,” excellent rail service and proximity to an interstate highway and customer base in the Northeast, said officials of GAF, which is headquartered in Parsippany, N.J.

“The excellent rail service comment refers to our company, and we are excited to have them expand here,” said Todd Hunter, chief marketing officer for North Shore.

The railroad in 2017 capped a two-year process when GAF opened production of roofing materials at a 275,000 square-foot former joist plant, which employs 50 and is growing. The new building will also be located on property GAF purchased adjacent to the Route 15-Interstate 80 interchange.

Thirty-five employees are to be hired at the new plant, which will manufacture polyisocyanurate, a rigid foamboard insulation to be installed under the polyolefin single-ply roofing membranes manufactured at the neighboring facility as well as at three others in the United States.

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