Acquisition continues company’s expansion
Nicholasville, Ky. – R. J. Corman Railroad Company has signed an agreement to purchase an 80-mile short line railroad in eastern North and South Carolina for $13.9 million. The company plans to rehabilitate and operate the rail line, which was shut down in 2011.
R. J. Corman was selected as the owner/operator by a two-state rail committee formed to facilitate the sale of the railroad, which is needed for the region’s economic development. The line extends from Mullins, S.C., to Whiteville, N.C., and to Conway, S.C., where it connects to a line owned by Horry County, S.C., that reaches Myrtle Beach.
“Our company has seen significant growth over the past few years, and we are very pleased to announce this significant acquisition,” said R. J. Corman Railroad Group President & CEO Craig King. “This opportunity is a direct result of the excellent work our employees perform here in Central Kentucky and all over the country. We’ve earned a reputation for efficient, safe railroad operations.”
R. J. Corman will invest millions of dollars for an extensive overhaul of the line. The rehab process will begin in about six weeks, once the acquisition is complete, and will take at least four months.
“Our first step will be to more fully assess the rehabilitation that’s needed so we can efficiently bring it up to our high standards,” King said. “We will deploy our expert railroad construction team to the region as well as hire some local workers.”
Corman’s short line railroads are considered best in class in safety and operating efficiency. The American Short Line Railroad Association selected them for the Jake Award with Distinction for safety on five separate occasions, including 2015, and the R. J. Corman Railroad Company/West Virginia Line was selected as the 2007 Short Line of the Year. In addition, the Carolina Southern line fits in well with the company’s diverse mix of railroad businesses.
“We appreciate this opportunity and realize its significance,” said Bill Henderson, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for R. J. Corman Railroad Company. “It’s easy to see there is tremendous opportunity for our company in the Carolinas and for the industries and agricultural businesses we will serve.”
The renewed railroad is expected to be an economic boon for the area by reducing industrial transportation costs, decreasing congestion from commercial truck traffic and creating up to 30 high-paying jobs once it is fully operational.
R. J. Corman has valuable experience in this kind of undertaking, having turned 10 light density lines into successful commercial operations that provide service to hundreds of industries. Furthermore, the company has repaired or rebuilt thousands of miles of railroad across the U.S. and expects to accomplish the same on the Carolina Southern line.