THE Grenada Railroad that runs for 376km from Canton, Mississippi, to Memphis, Tennessee, has been reopened for freight service following a nine-year infrastructure repair programme that received over $US 6.2m in federal funding.

The shortline was nearly abandoned in 2014 when 144km between Canton and Grenada in Mississippi fell into disrepair.

In 2015 Gulf & Atlantic Railways subsidiary Grenada Railroad entered into a lease agreement with the North Central Mississippi Regional Railroad Authority and began to operate the line.

Gulf & Atlantic Railways says that it worked with the state of Mississippi and local authorities to obtain federal funding for infrastructure repairs.

A Fastlane grant made in 2017 was used reopen 129.6km of abandoned track and the Canton interchange where the Grenada Railroad connects with Class 1 railways Canadian National (CN) and Canadian Pacific Kansas City (CPKC).

In 2020 the US Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) provided a $US 6.2m grant under its Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvement (Crisi) programme, which funded the repair of 144km of track and 36 bridges on the northern section of between Grenada and Southhaven in Mississippi.

On April 27 Grenada Railroad signed an asset purchase agreement with the North Central Mississippi Regional Railroad Authority to acquire the shortline, including a disused 34.7km branch from Aberdeen Junction to Kosciusko in Mississippi. The sale was completed on June 2.

As well as CN and CPKC, the Grenada Railroad provides shippers with access to the networks of the other Class 1 railways, BNSF, CSX, Norfolk Southern (NS) and Union Pacific (UP), via an interchange with CN in Memphis.

Grenada Railroad operates its own wagon fleet that includes centrebeam flat wagons and boxcars. The principal commodities it carries are paper, lumber, chemical products, flour, petroleum, plastics and railway sleepers.

The shortline also has storage capacity for up to 2200 wagons.

“We are proud to have a played a role in the restoration of this important transportation infrastructure that will bring economic opportunities for North Central Mississippi for years to come,” says Gulf & Atlantic Railways CEO, Mr Ryan Ratledge.

“We recognise the importance of having a strong multimodal transportation network in the state, and rail is certainly a huge part of that,” says Mr Brad White, executive director of the Mississippi Department of Transportation.

“I’m excited to see the positive economic impact that the rehab and upgrades to the Grenada rail line will make in Mississippi.”

Gulf & Atlantic Railways also operates the 688km Florida, Gulf & Atlantic Railroad. Under a strategic growth programme, earlier this year it acquired the 24km Camp Chase Railroad, 44.8km Chesapeake & Indiana Railroad and 16km Vermilion Valley Railroad from Midwestern & Bluegrass Rail.

On August 29 Gulf & Atlantic Railways signed a definitive agreement to acquire the rail assets of Pinsly Railroad Company, including the 28.8km Pioneer Valley Railroad (PVRR) that runs from Westfield to Holyoke in Massachusetts.

The transaction also includes Pinsly’s Railroad Distribution Services (RDS) business, which provides distribution services and operates two rail-served warehouses with a total indoor storage area of 13,000m2.

PVRR provides interchange with CSX and Pan Am Southern. Together with RDS, it serves over 30 diverse customers.