Nearly 400 guests boarded maroon and gold passenger cars from a bygone era July 21-23 as part of TC&W's 25th birthday celebration. President Mark Wegner said the excursions were his company's way of saying "thank you" to the elected officials, customers and employees who have helped make TC&W the largest and most successful short line railroad in Minnesota. The round-trip journeys took delighted passengers from Chanhassen to Cologne or Sacred Heart to Montevideo and back, enjoying box lunches, beautiful scenery and a little history lesson along the way.
Press coverage of the events in local newspapers highlighted the importance of TC&W to the businesses it serves. In a Chanhassen Villager story by Unsie Zuege, Lyman Lumber's branch manager John Zirbes told the reporter, "The TC&W is very important to our business. Most of our lumber comes from British Columbia and the western United States. To carry (lumber) that far, you can't truck it, it's too expensive. So we need a healthy railroad to bring us lumber, structural panels, gypsum; it all comes in on rail." Zaire said the company gets hundreds of rail cars every year, "delivered right in the middle of our yard."
In a Hutchinson Leader story, reporter Terry Davis interviewed Brad Kohls, grain manager for South Central Grain and Energy. He said that the connections TC&W provides to four of the nation's Class I rail carriers are vital to his company, which has facilities in Stewart, Buffalo Lake, and Hector, as well as in two other communities served by Minnesota Prairie Line, also operated by TC&W.
"The service is fantastic. It's huge to our producers. They get the benefit of experts in moving grain. TC&W has done a fantastic job," he said. His boss, David Peters agreed, saying, "There is really no way we could get along without the railroad."
Similar views were expressed in the story by Jeff Nielsen, CEO of Winthrop-based United Farmers Cooperative, which operates a grain shuttle facility outside Brownton. According to the story, the co-op is building a major fertilizer distribution plant there as well.
"It opens up a lot more markets for our members to ship all over the world," Nielsen said.
Wegner said the success of the 25th birthday celebration is a reflection of how much TC&W's customers value its service. "We have helped each other grow over the years," he said. "That's exactly what we hoped for when TC&W began operations in 1991."
Tuesday, August 9, 2016
Thursday, July 21, 2016
Short-line rail has been connecting Minnesota products with the world since 1991
GLENCOE, Minn.--Later this month, Minnesota's Twin Cities & Western Railroad (TC&W), one of the state's busiest short-line freight rail carriers, will transport something very different -dozens of passengers who, according to TC&W President Mark Wegner, have helped the company survive and thrive to celebrate its 25th anniversary. TC&W began service on July 26, 1991, and operates from its headquarters in Glencoe.
On July 21 and 22, TC&W will operate a series of special diesel-powered passenger excursions to thank customers, employees and government leaders who have helped make the railroad a successful and indispensable asset to rural Minnesota and eastern South Dakota. Twenty-five years after its founding, the company is responsible for moving almost $1.5 billion in goods from Minnesota farms and manufacturers to market in 39 U.S. states, Canada and Mexico.
"We have been very fortunate to have the support of the communities we serve and their elected representatives," Wegner said. "They have created a positive business environment that has enabled our customers to invest over $500 million in new or upgraded production, processing and shipping facilities along the TC&W line."
Wegner said many Twin Cities residents are unaware of the importance of short-line freight service to the rural communities outside the metro area.
"Our 20 largest shippers employ more than 2,600 people, and they pay combined total wages of over $111 million," he noted. "Several are among the largest employers in their communities. They provide more than $12 million in benefits to their workers. Good jobs with good benefits are not that easy to find in many rural areas, so our customers are highly valued as employers."
TC&W employs more than 85 people at its Glencoe headquarters and other locations, spending $6 million annually on payroll and benefits, and another $1.2 million in railroad retirement taxes.
Wegner said TC&W has a "remarkably loyal and efficient" work force that deserves much of the credit for the company's success. "Our employees have been the key to our growth, and the quality of our customer service," he said.
TC&W's main line extends from the Twin Cities to Milbank, South Dakota, with branch lines serving grain terminals on the Mississippi River at Camden Place and Savage. In total, the company operates on 294 route miles of track in Minnesota and 49 miles of track in South Dakota, linking its shippers to Class I rail carriers including Canadian Pacific, Union Pacific, BNSF Railway and Canadian National.
Friday, December 21, 2012
Welcome to the Twin Cities & Western "Latest News" blog. The news posted on this blog will appear on the TC&W website. The blog will enable TC&W to keep supporters apprised of new developments in the planning of the Southwest Light Rail Transit (SLRT) project, and the proposed rerouting of TC&W's freight rail service to accommodate SLRT.