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.