Operations on the 670-mile rail line was shut down May 30 and the RCP&E commenced freight service June 1. The new railroad has 177 employees, most of whom were hired from the DM&E operations and expects to hire additional employees.
"We have the right people, locomotives, equipment and track infrastructure in place to provide the customer-focused service for which shortline railroads are known," said Brad Ovitt, RCP&E president. "Teams are positioned along the route to assist with the challenges of starting a brand new operation. The RCP&E will be locally managed and operated, which enables decisions to be made closest to the customer and empowers our people to resolve issues with the goal of operating safely and exceeding customer expectations."
"In the days and weeks ahead, we'll be creating a fleet of approximately 50 locomotives and 3,000 railcars dedicated to RCP&E customers, supplemented by additional railcars from our connecting Class 1 railroads, to ensure we have the power and cars to meet customer needs," explained Todd Bjornstad, RCP&E general manger. "Through the combination of these resources, our intent is to increase the level of service provided to customers, which will increase the flow of traffic over the railroad and, ultimately, improve customer satisfaction."
Headquartered in Rapid City, RCP&E operates northwest to Colony, Wyo.; southwest to Dakota Junction, Neb.; and east to Tracy, Minn.. Mechanical shops are located in Rapid City and Huron, S.D., with train crew-start/change locations in Rapid City, Belle Fourche, Pierre, Huron and Brookings, S.D., and Tracy, Minn. RCP&E interchanges with BNSF, Canadian Pacific and Union Pacific, as well as Nebraska Northwestern.