TXR Featured in RailPrime
Texas Rock Crusher Railway Marks 25 Years in Business
By Grace Renderman, Associate Editor
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In the late 1990s, nearly nine miles of BNSF Railway Co. track in
Brownwood, Texas, was destined to be abandoned and scrapped.
“[The track had] very low car counts on it and was in very poor
condition,” says Paul Treangen, CEO of Dallas-based TNW Corp.
But TNW officials saw potential in the line and acquired it from BNSF in
“We had the opportunity to come in and take the railroad over and start a
new company,” Treangen says.
The new company: Texas Rock Crusher Railway (TXR).
Now in its 25th year in business, TXR operates more than 12 miles of track.
The short line interchanges with BNSF and employs seven people led by
TNW Superintendent of Railway Operations Jeremy Bush. The railroad
also provides short-term track leases to its transloading customers through TNW Logistics.
TXR serves the Camp Bowie Industrial Park — a 100-acre industrial district that houses service providers and manufacturers, such as Kohler Co. — and moves an assortment of commodities, from frac sand to agriculture products and grain to oil products and cabling. TXR also carries stone for Vulcan Materials, the railroad’s primary customer and a rock quarry, which inspired the name of the railroad, says Treangen of TNW, which currently operates three short lines with four transload facilities in Texas.
The transload operations also handle consumer products, such as pet food, and bulk materials originating from Camp Bowie.
25 years of growth When the railroad began operating a quarter-century ago, it started out with “just a few [rail] cars,” Treangen says. Now, the railroad transports an average of 15,280 rail cars per year, and more than 20,000 in some years.
“We've diversified in terms of the number of cars, commodities and customers,” he says. “It's a good, thriving business, and to do that, we've had to rebuild the track [and install] new rails, new ties, bridge upgrades, locomotive fleet.”
BNSF abandoned the track because it was underutilized, Treangen says. Enter short lines such as TXR, which can be invaluable to small communities because they bring in business and provide jobs to the people who live there.
“Many of the small towns without a short-line railroad would only be served by trucks,” Treangen says. “It creates a competitive nature to bring in new business and retain the grain elevators and companies.”
TXR officials plan to continue to provide competition in the Texas town of more than 18,000 people. Having worked with Brownwood’s economic development corporation for years, the railroad has integrated itself into the community in a few ways, including distinctive hometown branding added to its locomotives in 2018. Each locomotive features Brownwood’s rising sun logo and the slogan “Feels Like Home.”
For its community involvement, TXR in 2017 earned the “Business of the Year” award in the medium-size category from the Brownwood Area Chamber of Commerce. The railroad was recognized for its service through social and civic engagement programs, along with its dedication to working with local business leaders.
In another measure of putting a premium on the community’s well being:
TXR hasn’t had any recordable incidents — meaning zero injuries or
derailments — in more than six years.
"We are very aggressive in terms of our processes and training,” Treangen
says. “The safety team ... take[s] it very seriously.”
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