OmniTRAX on Dec. 1, 2023, will begin operating its 26th short line, the 52.4-mile South Branch Valley Railroad (SBVR) that serves West Virginia’s eastern panhandle.
The Denver, Colo.-based supply-chain and logistics solutions provider on Nov. 29 reported entering into a definitive agreement with the West Virginia Department of Transportation (WVDOT) to “operate and grow” SBVR.
A former branch of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Co., SBVR runs from Petersburg to Green Spring, W.Va., where it interchanges with CSX. It hauls grain, lumber, polymers, and aggregates, with total carloadings averaging between 3,800 and 4,000 per year, according to the WVDOT. A private operator under contract with the state has run an excursion train, the Potomac Eagle Scenic Railroad, along the line.
SBVR is the state’s second OmniTRAX-operated railroad. The Winchester and Western Railroad (WW) serves West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland and New Jersey. WW’s Virginia Division has two lines covering 53 miles of track and moves approximately 12,500 carloads per year; its New Jersey Division has 47 miles of track and moves about 8,500 carloads per year, according to OmniTRAX, the transportation affiliate of The Broe Group.
“OmniTRAX brings strong market knowledge, a national network of partners, and a best-in-class safety record,” West Virginia Division of Multimodal Transportation Facilities Commissioner Cindy Butler said. “After careful consideration, it became clear that OmniTRAX is the ideal logistics partner to grow the SBVR.”
“OmniTRAX has a proven track record of being committed community partners that bring new jobs to the areas we serve,” OmniTRAX CEO Dean Piacente said. “We are excited to bring that spirit of service to the Potomac Highlands communities and operate with the Potomac Eagle Scenic Railroad to make the SBVR thrive.”
“We believe in West Virginia,” OmniTRAX President and Chief Operating Officer Sergio Sabatini said. “The WW has attracted $2.6 billion of direct investment along the line, creating 6,000 direct and indirect jobs, and we look forward to bringing new growth to the SBVR and the Eastern Panhandle Region.”