According to the Eastern Railroad News, the Columbiana County Port Authority has approved a letter of intent to sell the former Youngstown and Southern Railway to an environmental and energy services company for a reported $2.9 million.
The 36-mile short-line railway stretches from Youngstown, then five miles through Boardman and onto its ending at Darlington, Pa.
The Columbiana County Port Authority reclaimed the line in 2000 from RVI of Boardman, that had planned to abandoned the line and create a bikeway.
The Port Authority objected to those plans and the sale of the line in 2000 was ordered by the Surface Transportation Board that controls most legal matters governing railroads in the United States.
Since that time, the Port Authority has tried no less than four times to sell the line, but none of those deals were ever finalized, according to the Eastern Railroad News.
Late last year, the Port Authority attempted to work out a deal with Total Waste Logistics to purchase the line, but that effort failed.
A Canadian-based firm, Tervita, then expressed an interest in the line due to the shale-gas boom currently underway in this region.
Tervita is an environmental and energy services company headquartered in Canada that offers waste disposal services to its customers. The company’s web site says it was founded in Mar., 2012 in a move that joined several firms, including CCS Corporation, Hazco, Concord, Beck, HMI, Prodrill and others.
The Columbiana County Port Authority said it expects Tervita to buy the line on July 16.
“Also listed as part of the deal is the Ohio Rail Development Commission’s forgiveness of $1 million in penalties owed to the agency by the port authority,” the Eastern Railroad News reported, adding “reports indicate that Tervita will also acquire a landfill in Negley, or a major interest in the facility.
Tervita hopes to provide more than 7000 annual carloads of waste within two years.
The projected sale of the railway has raised the ire of the North Boardman Neighborhood Association that claims if Tervita buys the line, the speed limit along its 36-mile pathway will be increased from 10 to 25-miles-per-hour and the line will be used to haul hazardous materials.
In a flyer that was sent to The Boardman News, the North Boardman Neighborhood Association says “This train runs past our homes, our churches, our schools, our parks and our businesses. It’s already an eyesore. This is unacceptable...We don’t want hazardous materials to be transported through our neighborhoods, especially at higher speeds.”
Tracy Drake, head of the Columbiana County Port Authority, told the Eastern Railroad News that short line railways in Pennsylvania are currently benefiting “by carrying pipe, sand, water and other materials needed by companies drilling in the Marcellus and Utica natural gas fields in western Pennsylvania and eastern Ohio.”