Regional Rail has acquired the assets of Clinton Terminal Railroad in North Carolina.

The acquisition, announced this week, will expand Regional Rail’s presence in North Carolina. Regional Rail had acquired Carolina Coastal Railway in 2020. Carolina Coastal will be the new owner and operator of Clinton Terminal Railroad, which will be named the Clinton Branch of the railway. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed. 

“We are excited to partner with the team at Clinton Terminal and view this as a natural expansion of our footprint in North Carolina,” Regional Rail CEO Al Sauer said in a news release. “We believe there are attractive opportunities in the market and look forward to building upon the railroad’s existing operations.”

Clinton Terminal CEO Bob Lowe said, “We are proud of what we have built at Clinton Terminal over the years and believe that Regional Rail will be a great steward of the railroad, in addition to a strong partner to our customers going forward.”

Clinton Terminal is based in Clinton, North Carolina, according to the company’s Facebook page, while Carolina Coastal is 180-mile freight rail line consisting of a 142-mile line between the North Carolina cities of Raleigh and Plymouth and a 17-mile line between Belhaven and Pinetown. It interchanges with Norfolk Southern (NYSE: NSC) in North Carolina  at Raleigh and Chocowinity and with CSX (NASDAQ: CSX) at Wilson and Greenville. Customers include shippers of aggregates, food and agriculture, chemicals and metals.

The acquisition of short-line railroads continues to be a pursuit of some private equity firms, although the COVID-19 pandemic likely temporarily halted activity during the pandemic’s onset in 2020.

Regional Rail is backed by 3i Infrastructure, a U.K.-based private equity firm. Regional Rail and 3i have made other investments in U.S. short-line railroads, including more than tripling the number of railroads in North America under Regional Rail’s control since 2019. Besides Carolina Coastal, Regional Rail and 3i also acquired three short-line railroads in the Midwest and rail assets in western Canada in 2022.

Regional Rail also provides railroad crossing signal design, construction, inspection and maintenance services to a diverse base of short-line and industrial customers via its Diamondback Signal subsidiary, the company said.

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Click here for more FreightWaves articles by Joanna Marsh.

Related links:

Regional Rail to acquire 3 Midwest short-line railroads

Regional Rail expands footprint to include western Canada

Regional Rail to acquire Carolina Coastal Railway

Experts predict more short line railroad mergers and acquisitions

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