The Twin Cities & Western Railroad marks its 20th anniversary on July 26. Since beginning operations in 1991, the 229-mile railroad reports employment has more than doubled from 30 to 68. Payroll and fringe benefits rose to $5.6 million last year according to a prepared release
“Employees have been the key to our growth,” noted TC&W President Mark Wegner. “We have a very loyal and efficient work force.” Many are based at the railroad’s headquarters in Glencoe, Minn.
TC&W operated a series of diesel-powered special trains July 22-24 to thank employees, customers, government leaders and railroad officials who helped make the railroad a success.
Positive business environment
“We especially want to thank the more than 30 communities along our line and their elected representatives who have helped to provide a positive business environment,” said Wegner. “This has allowed TC&W to offer responsive and efficient rail service that is essential to rural America and attracts new business development, such as ethanol plants.”
A number of major customers have located along the line, or expanded their businesses, according to Wegner. These include Southern Minnesota Beet Sugar Coop at Renville, Lyman Lumber at Chanhassen, Granite Falls Ethanol Plant at Granite Falls, Heartland Corn Products ethanol plant at Winthrop, and several grain elevators.
The Twin Cities & Western is one of more than 500 smaller railroads operating in the United States–many of them formed after passage of the Staggers Act deregulating railroads in 1980.
The railroad has increased its freight volume 26 percent since 1991 to approximately 18,000 carloads annually.
During its 20 years of operation, Twin Cities & Western has spent more than $132 million primarily to operate and maintain the railroad and its equipment. Through 2011, TC&W will have replaced nearly a quarter-million or more than one-half of its crossties, making track stronger and safer.
TC&W has a fleet of 12 locomotives, including nine that have been upgraded with more fuel-efficient Caterpillar diesel engines, which can use a five percent biodiesel blend, which is supplied locally.
In 2008, TC&W was named “Regional Railroad of the Year” by Railway Age magazine.
Wegner noted TC&W has benefited from its strong partnership with the Canadian Pacific. “We greatly appreciate their support,” he said.
Former Milwaukee Road main line
TC&W’s main line extends from the Twin Cities of St. Paul and Minneapolis to Milbank, S.D. Branch lines run north and south from St. Louis Park, Minn., serving major grain terminals on the Mississippi River at Camden Place in Minneapolis and at Savage, on the Minnesota River.
TC&W’s main line was part of the Milwaukee Road’s route to the Pacific Northwest, formerly known as the “Ortonville Line.” It was originally built in the 1870s by the Hastings & Dakota Railway.
SOURCE Twin Cities & Western Railroad