DELAWARE-LACKAWANNA HERALDED FOR INNOVATIVE GROWTH STRATEGY
SCRANTON, PA – It’s early 1993. The former Delaware, Lackawanna & Western and Delaware & Hudson lines in the Scranton, PA area boast limited freight rail traffic. Operations are contained to two or three days per week; most runs can be handled by a single locomotive. The physical plant (tracks) of both of these former mainlines have been drained of much of their equity. But there is reason for optimism for the taxpayers of Northeastern Pennsylvania, because there’s a new operator coming into the fold with a track record of innovative, ‘bootstraps’ business-growth successes.
Flash forward a quarter-century. Last month, the American Shortline & Regional Railroad Association (ASLRRA) celebrated freight rail’s role in a regional economic renaissance by awarding the 2019 Business Development Award to ‘the’ Delaware-Lackawanna Railroad. The ASLRRA business development award spoke to this GVT Rail subsidiary’s boots-on-the-ground, ‘one carload at a time’ growth strategy. “The Business Development Award recognizes the essence of the short line story – leveraging the uniqueness of a railroad’s operation and their partners to deliver customer value,” said Chuck Baker, President, ASLRRA. “The D-L has had an incredible story, from its inception as cast-off rail from Conrail in 1993 to today, the D-L has grown carload volume over 510% – one car at a time. D-L’s entrepreneurial spirit and commitment to current customers while building new opportunities has earned them this recognition.”
The GVT Rail/DL team took this almost 100-mile regional rail authority-owned asset from fewer than 2,000 carloads annually, in 1993, to the verge of eclipsing 10,000 over the DL’s two-and-a-half decades in Scranton. From all indications, that 510% growth in traffic on the DL is the floor, not the ceiling.
The ASLRRA award went on to identify some of the most exponential growth sectors in the DL portfolio—namely sand, salt, and lumber customers—all three of which had never been served by rail. As with anything substantial, the saying ‘it takes a village’ applies to the successes of the DL management and marketing teams. The sand business could not have become what it has without Norfolk Southern, the DL’s primary Class I interchange partner, working with the DL and the shipper on a unique rate. The lumber depends on thoughtful, exacting planning and safe execution by the DL operations team. And the salt business could not have taken off as it has without the DL’s most important partner, the Pennsylvania Northeast Regional Railroad Authority (PNRRA).
“The public-private model forged in Northeastern Pennsylvania has become a model increasingly used across the United States to save rail trackage that has been abandoned and was being liquidated by private sector railroads,” said Larry Malski, President of the PNRRA. “The progress continues in Northeastern Pennsylvania as evidenced by a 29% increase in carloads during the first four months of 2019 on this trackage.”
The PNRRA team has been essential to the DL’s efforts to build fruitful, public-good relationships with the Scranton Chamber of Commerce and Pocono Mountain Economic Development Corporation. These are two essential organizations of many that have played a role in the half-century, post-anthracite economic rebirth of northeastern Pennsylvania.
The GVT Rail and Delaware-Lackawanna teams thank the ASLRRA for this recognition. We look forward to another 25 years of exponential growth, through our partnerships and through our dedication to providing “friendly, customized service.”
ABOUT GVT RAIL
Genesee Valley Transportation Co., Inc. (GVT Rail) is a privately-owned shortline and regional rail corporation based out of Batavia, NY. Founded in 1985, GVT Rail has grown from a five-mile spur in greater Buffalo, NY, to a 318-mile network of five subsidiary railroads in two states. Over three-and-a-half decades, we’ve set an imprint as an industry-recognized leader in business development and “friendly, customized service.” Be it restoring service to an existing industry or establishing truck-train transloading services, the GVT Rail team is always on the lookout for new opportunities to contribute to the economic renaissance of the communities and regions that we serve.