Rail car manufacturer returns to work after four-year hiatus

Written by Jenifer Nunez, assistant editor

ACF Industries' rail car manufacturing plant in Milton, Pa., reopened its doors June 5, 2013 after four years of being shut down.

“Just four short years ago, this plant lay idle, one of the countless casualties of a national recession that cost millions of Americans their jobs and struck at the very heart of our nation’s confidence,” Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett said.

“But now, because of Pennsylvania ingenuity and innovation, our booming energy sector has led to an increase for demand in rail cars to transport goods,” he added.

ACF closed its Milton plant in 2009 because of declining sales. Current growth in the energy industry has created a shortage of railroad storage tank cars and components, allowing ACF to now reopen the plant.

Already hiring 230 employees since its reopening, ACF expects to create a total of 333 jobs and retain 20 existing jobs in the next three years. The company received $483,000 in state funding from the Governor’s Action Team for machinery and equipment purchases, as well as employee training.

“The rebirth of this company represents growth in traditional manufacturing, re-energized by the natural gas industry,” Corbett said. “By supporting our expanding energy sector and helping to connect industries, we are helping to create a new Pennsylvania.”

Rail cars manufactured in Milton will be shipped to gas fields in the Dakotas and Canada and will be used to carry crude oil to refineries across the country, including the Philadelphia refineries.

Also, because of the increased extraction of propane from Marcellus Shale and continued growth in the natural gas industry, the company is making plans to begin manufacturing stationary propane tanks at the Milton location by the end of 2013.

A large natural gas consumer itself, ACF chose to reopen its Milton plant, as opposed to another location in the United States, because of the low cost of energy in Pennsylvania.