Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Boatright plans crosstie plant in Chilton County, Alabama

Boatright Companies is building a crosstie plant in Chilton County, Ala., a $55 million investment with plans to have 100 workers by the end of next year. The new 400,000-square-foot facility on 100 acres in the Chilton County Industrial Park will put the Boatright plant on a CSX rail line and give the company the ability to more than double its current railroad tie production capacity.

The plant is expected to season, treat and distribute up to two million railroad ties per year, the same volume as at the company's current plant in Montevallo, Ala. However, the Chilton County plant will also have room to expand and boost capacity by another one million ties per year, if the need arises.

The Chilton County plant will be built from the ground up, giving it the ability to incorporate the latest technologies and design versus the Montevallo plant, which was retrofitted with some of the improvements after the fact.

The new plant will be designed to operate more efficiently and will be built for eventual expansion. The facility will take in green railroad lumber cut into ties, which will then be dried and seasoned by the sun and weather on the property before getting trimmed and treated with creosote in large, pressurized vacuum cylinders. The finished ties will be stacked and stored and ready for shipping to customers.

Boatright Companies CEO Shane Boatright said, "The new plant is on a CSX rail line, while the Montevallo plant is on a Norfolk Southern line. Each time I have to change lines when shipping, it adds to the final cost to the customer. The new plant will be a more efficient and cost-effective way to get our products to our customers."

The plant will begin operating in the first quarter of 2013, starting out with about 50 employees. By the end of the third quarter of 2013, the company expects that figure to be closer to 100.

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