Patriot Rail Company LLC has entered into an agreement to acquire Pioneer Lines Inc., a railroad holding company that operates the Napoleon, Defiance & Western Railway along with 14 other short line railroads.
The acquisition is subject to regulatory authority. The Napoleon, Defiance & Western Railway is comprised of 58.2 miles of tracks from Woodburn, Ind. to Liberty Center, and will be part of the acquisition.
Officials with Patriot Rail, which is based in Jacksonville, Fla., said that the acquisition is to support the company’s growth strategy while expanding Patriot to serve customers in new markets. They also stated that the move will “offer rail users enhanced service options across more locations throughout the United States.”
In a news release, Patriot Rail board Chairperson Deb Butler said, “Rail shippers will now have increased service options across a broader national footprint, and the integration of Patriot and Pioneer will further enhance our combined capability as a rail solutions partner dedicated to safety and customer growth.”
Patriot Rail operates 16 regional and freight short line railroads, a scenic rail train and rail-related services companies with operations in more than 15 states. Meanwhile, Pioneer’s 15 short line railroads transport diverse commodities, including agricultural and food products, iron and steel, plastics, chemicals and more.
Its business base continues to grow as well. In January, the Ohio Rail Development Commission approved a $100,000 grant to A Packaging Group to construct rail infrastructure at its Defiance facility, which is on the Napoleon Defiance & Western Railway line.
“Pioneer Lines is a diverse rail company with talented professionals and deep customer relationships,” said John Fenton, Patriot Rail’s chief executive officer, in a press release. “Pioneer Lines’ safety culture and focus on operational excellence aligns directly with Patriot Rail’s vision and mission. These synergies position us to continue to exceed customer expectations as a best-in-class rail partner to meet their freight shipment and logistics needs.”
Pioneer Lines has done a lot of upgrades to its railroads, including the Napoleon, Defiance & Western Railway. With funding from the Ohio Rail Development Commission, Federal Railroad Administration and the Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements Program, Pioneer has put million of dollars into the line for significant track upgrades and to eliminate speed, train length and height restrictions on the line.
“I am excited by the potential this acquisition brings to Pioneer’s customers and employees,” said Alex Yeros, chief executive officer and president of Pioneer Lines and principal of Brookhaven Capital Partners, in a statement. “Building Pioneer into one of North America’s best-performing and most-respected short line rail companies could not have been possible without the trust of our customers and our talented team of experts. Our team is looking forward to the opportunity to grow with Patriot to provide the improved efficiency and reach of a larger platform, with the personalized care, flexible local service and deep industry expertise that Pioneer is known for.”