With the purchase of two branch lines from Norfolk Southern (NS), R.J. Corman Railroad Company is launching the Knoxville and Cumberland Gap Railroad, LLC (KXCG), its 18th short line.
R.J. Corman on Jan. 27 reported that it will start service next month, following customary regulatory approvals.
KXCG comprises a 59-mile branch between Clinton and Clairfield, Tenn., and a 72-mile branch between Beverly, Tenn., and Middlesboro, Ky., which crosses the iconic Cumberland Gap within the Appalachian Mountains (see map below). The branches had been part of the Southern Railway, which in 1982 merged with Norfolk & Western to create NS.
KXCG will have rights between the two branches and interchange cars in NS’s Sevier Yard, R.J. Corman said.
R.J. Corman currently operates 17 short lines spanning more than 1,200 miles in Kentucky, Alabama, Mississippi, North Carolina, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and West Virginia. The company also provides emergency rail services associated with derailments and natural disasters; switching, track construction, track material distribution and signal design/construction services; and dinner train operation.
“We are extremely excited about the creation of the Knoxville and Cumberland Gap Railroad,” said Ed Quinn, President and CEO of R.J. Corman Railroad Group, LLC, whose R.J. Corman Memphis Line received Railway Age’s 2021 Short Line of the Year award. “We see a lot of potential for growth, expansion and economic development in the region, and we look forward to providing our customers with our first-class quality service with safety-first operations. We are thankful for our Class I business partner, Norfolk Southern, and our continuing and growing partnership through the years.”
In related news, R.J. Corman Railroad Company in December rebranded its transloading business as “Transload Connect,” and signed on RSI Logistics to market the service and serve as a third-party operator at select locations.