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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Watco's Alabama Warrior Railway begins operations

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Watco Transportation Services, Inc., started up a new railroad, the Alabama Warrior Railway August 7. The ABWR operates 15 miles of track in and around Birmingham, Ala., and interchanges with BNSF, Norfolk Southern and CSX Transportation. The ABWR's chief mission is to deliver coal to Walter Coke Inc., a furnace and foundry coke producer based in Birmingham.


Along with serving Walter Coke's operations, other rail customers served by the ABWR include:  LaFarge, US Pipe, Cemex and two transloading customers, Harrison Gypsum and Performance Minerals. Commodities shipped by these customers include aggregates, pipe, scrap steel, cement and various other commodities.


In addition to rail service, mechanical services will also be provided at the location. Cars are inspected and repaired as needed before delivery to Walter Coke, Inc. and the yard has a bulk handling facility where it receives railroad cars with aggregates that are unloaded for delivery to area industries.


The ABWR (formerly Jefferson Warrior Railroad) began as the Mary Lee Railroad prior to 1900 and was taken over by Sloss Industries (now Walter Coke) in 1969. In 1985, the name was changed to Jefferson Warrior.


Watco Companies, Inc., is a Pittsburg, Kan., based transportation company serving transportation, mechanical and transload/intermodal needs of customers throughout the nation. WCI is the owner of Watco Transportation Services, Inc. (WTS), the largest privately-held short line railroad company in the U.S. operating 21 short line railroads on more than 3,500 miles of track, as well as 21 industrial contract switching locations.

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