Patriot Rail Corp. was busy in the final months of 2011 in Louisiana and Arkansas.
The short line and regional freight railroad holding company based in Boca Raton, FL, signed a rail car service agreement and added new frac sand business. The company owns and operates 12 short line freight railroads comprising approximately 500 rail miles in 12 states.
In November, Patriot Rails’ Louisiana and North West Railroad (LNW) signed a five-year agreement with Pro Sands Processing, LLC, a frac sand supply, storage and delivery company serving the oil and gas industry. Pro Sands will lease 10 acres at LNW’s new Iron Ridge Road transload facility in Gibsland, LA. LNW will deliver freight carloads of frac sand to Pro Sands there, and the product will be dried, processed and transloaded to truck for delivery throughout the region.
Pro Sands has initially committed to moving a minimum of 2,400 carloads a year into the facility, with a target of 5,000 carloads once the Pro Sands facility at Iron Bridge Road is fully operational.
Over the past year, Patriot has invested more than $3 million to develop the Iron Bridge Road facility, a 40-acre transloading site adjacent to the Haynesville shale natural gas field in northwest Louisiana and southwest Arkansas. The Iron Bridge Road facility, which officially opened Oct. 5, 2011, allows energy producers to transfer bulk cargo such as frac sand, aggregate and other commodities from rail cars to trucks.
“Patriot is committed to improving our short line railroads, serving our customers and strengthening local economies,” Patriot CEO Gary O. Marino said.
In 2008, Patriot bought the 68-mile L&NW, which connects the Haynesville shale formation – one of the nation’s largest natural gas fields – with Class I railroads Kansas City Southern and Union Pacific. Headquartered in Homer, LA, the L&NW was incorporated in 1889 and operates trains from Gibsland, LA, to McNeil, AR.
The Iron Bridge Road project comprises 40 acres. General manager Johnnie Raab said the company is negotiating for an additional 100 acres.
Raab said L&NW will be hiring new crews, maintenance workers, office personnel and security professionals, while its customers will be adding operational positions in the Iron Bridge Road yard. “We expect to bring a substantial number of new jobs to Gibsland in the next year,” he added. “That’s just the tip of the iceberg once things really get rolling.”
Located 100 miles east of Shreveport, Gibsland has about 1,000 residents and one of Louisiana’s highest unemployment rates, according to Pat White, who served as mayor in 2009-10 and is now retired. “I pushed hard for this project, because it will bring so many benefits to our community,” he said.
Patriot Rail also recently announced that it had entered a long-term rail car services agreement with CF Rail.
CF Rail leased the rail car and locomotive inspection and repair facilities at Patriot’s DeQueen & Eastern (DQE), Columbia and Cowlitz (CLC) and Golden Triangle (GTRA) railroads. CF Rail will perform rail car and locomotive repairs on system and privately owned cars and locomotives at these facilities, including cars and locomotives owned by Patriot.
The repair facilities include state-of-the-art locomotive, rail car and locomotive wheel shops in DeQueen, AR, and a rail car shop in Valliant, OK, all on the DQE; locomotive and rail car shops in Columbus, MI, on the GTRA; and locomotive and rail car shops in Longview, WA, on the CLC.