ASLRRA honors four short lines for marketing achievements

Written by William C. Vantuono, Editor-in-Chief
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The American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association recognized four short lines on May 18, 2016 "for their efforts in designing and enacting innovative and successful marketing initiatives in the challenging small railroad industry."

“The four railroads we honored for the 2015 work are risk takers in the very best sense of the word. They work daily to bring new customers to their lines with reliable connections, creative use of real estate assets and flexible service offerings. And in the end, they keep small towns and small shippers connected to the national railroad system,” said Linda Bauer Darr, President, ASLRRA. “Their success is the result of a commitment to never standing still and never fearing change.”

The Nittany & Bald Eagle (NBER) and Buffalo & Pittsburgh Railroad (BPRR) partnered with Norfolk Southern to move pelletized lime from Graymont Lime at Pleasant Gap, Pennsylvania, to the Homer City Generating Station at Homer City, Pennsylvania, as part of the facility’s evolution from one of the nation’s dirtiest coal-fired power plants to a model of how such shops can economically cut pollution.

The three railroads cover the 190-mile haul with 45-car trains operating on a 3 ½-day schedule. These trains operate under a long-term transportation contract and will deliver more than 3,000 cars annually of pelletized lime to Homer City.

Indiana Rail Road Company (INRD) partnered with CN to provide direct intermodal service from the West Coast, extending its intermodal markets into southern Indiana and the Ohio Valley.

The INRD invested $2.5 million to upgrade facilities, including construction of a two-track intermodal pad, each track measuring 1,400 feet, and a five acre container yard at its Senate Avenue Terminal. This bonded facility is open six days a week and is within a day’s drive of 80% of U.S. consumers. Containers move from Shanghai, China, to Indianapolis via the Port of Prince Rupert, British Columbia in 21.5 days on average. This is the fastest overall transit time in the industry.

Volume has shattered expectations: 12,563 containers were handled in 2014, the first full year of service; 17,233 containers moved in 2015; 18,000 are expected in 2016. Reading & Northern (RBMN)’s latest “Rapid Response” example is the railroad’s onboarding of the Old Forge Warehouse near Scranton, Pennsylvania. The rehabilitation project was completed in a four week period to meet the growing needs of a wood pulp customer servicing a large paper mill, also on the RBMN line. The warehouse needed to be located where the wood pulp could be delivered on a next-day basis.

The Old Forge Warehouse operation, which includes an inventory control system linked to the customer, is controlled, managed and staffed by Reading & Northern employees. Over 350 carloads were handled during the first six months of operation.

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