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ORDC Awards Rail Infrastructure Grants

Written by Marybeth Luczak, Executive Editor
Pictured: South Point and Ohio Railroad, a subsidiary of Agracel Rail Holdings Company. (Courtesy of Agracel, via LinkedIn)

Pictured: South Point and Ohio Railroad, a subsidiary of Agracel Rail Holdings Company. (Courtesy of Agracel, via LinkedIn)

The Ohio Rail Development Commission (ORDC) late last month approved grants to South Point & Ohio Railroad (SPOR) and packaging systems manufacturer and consultant ORBIS for rail infrastructure rehabilitation and expansion, respectively.

SPOR will use the $50,000 grant to help upgrade sections of its rail yard and other infrastructure in South Point, Ohio, and allow it to serve a new transload customer, Purecycle, a plastics company located in Ironton, Ohio. The total cost of this phase of on-site rail repair is estimated to be $160,000, according to ORDC.

SPOR, a subsidiary of Agracel Rail Holdings Company, was formed to lease and run approximately seven miles of track located within The Point, a business and manufacturing park with more than 500 acres of land under development along the Ohio River; it began operations in 2021. SPOR interchanges with Norfolk Southern on the south side of the Point. 

“ORDC’s contribution to South Point & Ohio Railroad’s project to enhance transload capabilities and rehabilitate track has enabled our team to partner with LEDC [Lawrence Economic Development Corporation] to better leverage those track assets to attract industrial development to Lawrence County,” Agracel Rail Holdings President Scott C. Lurkins said.

Additionally, ORDC’s $100,000 grant to ORBIS will go toward expanding rail infrastructure at its Urbana, Ohio, manufacturing facility. The $356,554 project will rehabilitate an on-site siding that has not seen rail service for many years and will be needed as ORBIS boosts manufacturing capacity, according to ORDC. It is part of ORBIS’s more than $42 million investment in the facility, including an approximately 50,000 square-foot expansion to accommodate eight injection machines. ORBIS, a wholly owned subsidiary of Menasha Corporation, is located on the West Central Ohio Port Authority (WESTCO)-owned section of the Indiana & Ohio Railway system.

ORDC Executive Director Matthew Dietrich said, “It is always our goal to work with our local and state economic development partners to promote investment and employment opportunities in Ohio. We are happy to partner with WESTCO and the Dayton Development Coalition to assist ORBIS with their expansion plans. The rehabilitation of a siding that has been out of service for so many years increases capacity for ORBIS and improves the logistics of the facility.”

In related developments, ORDC in July approved a $490,626 grant for a project in Spencer, Ohio, that will improve public safety and rail traffic fluidity by reconfiguring connecting tracks between four Wheeling & Lake Erie Railway lines.

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