Short Line Railroad Leases Tracks from Norfolk Southern in OH, WV

Watco Companies - trainWe love it when we spot a company adopting a contrarian strategy. Received wisdom and prevailing thought says that the oil and gas industry–especially in the Marcellus/Utica–is contracting. Drillers aren’t drilling, and that affects the supply chain (those companies supplying goods and services to the industry) in a big and negative way. Yep–true enough. But the received wisdom also says companies should diversity–look for business outside of the oil and gas industry. What’s contrary is to take advantage of this downturn to expand capacity–to get ready for when the downturn turns again into an upturn. That’s just what Watco Transportation Services is doing with their Kanawha River Railroad short line subsidiary. Kanawha River Railroad has just cut a deal to lease 309 miles of rail lines from Norfolk Southern in Ohio and West Virginia. One of the customers on these short haul lines will be, yep, Marcellus and Utica drillers and sand suppliers and chemical suppliers and equipment suppliers. Nope, there’s not all that much shipping right now, which makes this a step of faith. But the company believes that the future will be here soon and things will turn and the Kanawha River Railroad will be ready to take full advantage of it. We love a railroad story, and we love a contrarian story. This is both…

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