- State News
- Gas Industry
Company Operating Joint Rail Authority Has New Owners
By SEDA-COG Joint Rail Authority
June 14, 2012
The company that operates the SEDA-COG Joint Rail Authority’s (JRA) five shortline railroads has new owners today. Richard Robey’s sale of his company to 12 members of his staff was finalized at yesterday’s meeting of the Authority, whose approval was needed, based on the Operating Agreement.
Commenting on the sale, Robey said, “The management team has substantial and proven knowledge and capabilities for conducting rail freight operations and management based on up to thirty years of experience.” The team is broad based, representing every department within the company, and every aspect of the railroad business. It is headed by Gary Shields, President of the newly formed holding company, which operates each of the five short lines as separate companies:
- Juniata Valley Railroad
- Lycoming Valley Railroad
- Nittany & Bald Eagle Railroad
- North Shore Railroad
- Shamokin Valley Railroad
The company also operates the Union County Industrial Railroad, serving portions of Northumberland and Union counties.
As Jeff Stover, Executive Director, JRA, pointed out, “The group that’s buying the operating company is the same group that’s been running it for the last 28 years, and based on our recent survey of shippers on the five lines, they’ve been providing quality service and satisfying the shippers’ needs.”
Yesterday’s action by the Rail Authority was the culmination of a nearly-three year process, and Jerry Walls, Chairman of the Authority, called it a “…major milestone, one that continues privatization of the rail lines’ operation, which remain under public control of the JRA.
“Today’s action enables local, hard working rail service professionals to take ownership of an enterprise which they helped build over the last 28 years.”
Robey was chosen as the rail lines’ operator in 1984 when he was chosen among several individuals responding to the Authority’s Request for Proposal. His executive experience in the business included associations with the Wellsboro & Corning, and Stourbridge railroads. He retired from day-to-day activities as the JRA’s operator more than two years ago, but remained involved during negotiations for the sale of his company.