Tennessee Southern Railroad Completes First Year under New Ownership

Tennessee Southern Railroad has completed its first year of operation under Patriot Rail ownership, and the new owners say the year was a success.

TSRR, acquired by Patriot Rail in November 2006, operates over 149 miles of rail line from Columbia, Tenn., to Pulaski, Tenn., and from Columbia, Tenn., to Florence, Ala. The railroad serves 32 customers and interchanges with CSX Transportation at Natco, Tenn.

TSRR also provides multi-modal services between the railroad, river barges and trucks at the Port of Florence, located on the Tennessee River. According to officials, TSRR has achieved many milestones during the past year, including:

  • Carloads increased 29 percent to 6,637
  • Entered agreement with Louisiana Pacific Corp. for new transload facility
  • Extended operating lease at Port of Florence
  • Secured business with five new customers
  • Upgraded locomotive fleet with 6 newly-refurbished locomotives
  • Spending more than $7 million over 3 years to improve infrastructure

Over the past year, TSRR increased carloads from existing customers and secured new business by implementing several new customer service initiatives, officials say. In late 2006, TSRR signed an agreement with Louisiana Pacific to operate a nine-acre transload and distribution facility that handles building materials.

To assist in bringing new business to the Port of Florence, TSRR completed construction of a new transload facility and extended its operating lease with the Florence-Lauderdale County Port Authority in the first quarter of 2007.

By providing customized rail service solutions, TSRR started moving carloads for new customers W.R. Grace & Co., Synagro Technologies, Inc. and Smelter Services Corporation this year. Combined, officials say these initiatives led to a 29 percent increase in carloads to 6,637 in the twelve months ending Oct. 31 versus 5,148 in the prior twelve months.

“TSRR has definitely exceeded our expectations in its first year under our ownership,” Patriot Rail Chairman, President & CEO Gary O. Marino said. “The TSRR management team has done a tremendous job taking advantage of the railroad’s unique port access, transload services and multi-modal capabilities to secure new business and grow carloads. We look forward to improving upon these results in 2008 as the full impact of adding these new customers and additional marketing initiatives take affect.”

Over the past three months, TSRR has upgraded its locomotive fleet with the delivery of six newly-refurbished GP-10 locomotives painted with Patriot Rail’s new corporate-wide paint scheme of red, white and blue with gold trim and lettering. The locomotives were upgraded with N-Force technology and will replace older locomotives in TSRR’s fleet.

The N-Force technology is a wheel slip system that allows a 1700-horsepower locomotive to have the tractive effort of a 2300-horsepower locomotive, thereby allowing the railroad to move more carloads with fewer locomotives and lower fuel consumption.

TSRR is also continuing to improve its rail infrastructure through its on-going $7.2 million combined track and bridge rehabilitation program. In early 2007, TSRR, a participant in the State of Tennessee Short Line Rehabilitation Program, commenced a three year track and bridge rehabilitation project designed to improve customer service, increase train speeds and operate at a higher level of safety.

More than $6.7 million in state grant and TSRR matching money will be spent to upgrade track and repair bridges along 70 miles of rail line from Columbia, Tenn., to the Tennessee-Alabama State Line. TSRR will replace more than 77,000 rail crossties, add new ballast, resurface track and upgrade bridges to 286,000-lb. standards.

TSRR is also investing another $500,000 in a program to rehabilitate the 15 miles of track in Alabama between the Tennessee State Line and Florence, Ala., installing 6,000 new crossties, and replacing bridge caps and other bridge work on the Coal Island Bridge.

“We expect that TSRR’s rail infrastructure improvement program will generate significant future benefits for its customers,” Marino said. “The improving track conditions will also provide more reliable rail service, increased train speeds and a safer work environment for TSRR’s employees.”

Patriot Rail Corp. is a short line and regional freight railroad holding company based in Boca Raton, Fla. The Company currently owns and operates two short line freight railroads comprising 212 total rail miles — the Tennessee Southern Railroad in Tennessee and Alabama, and the Butte, Anaconda & Pacific Railway in Montana.

— Business Wire