Ohio Rail Development Commission Approves Grant to Independence Rail Works / Zemba Bros. for Rail Rehabilitation

On March 23, 2023, the Ohio Rail Development Commission (ORDC) approved a grant award to Independence Rail Works, Ltd. (IRW) of up to $128,434 to undertake a large tie replacement project on its Byesville to Derwent line in eastern Ohio.  The ORDC grant will be matched dollar for dollar by IRW funding to complete the project.  The project will ensure safe and reliable rail service over the line to Zemba Companies’ aggregate yard. 

IRW purchased the Byesville to Derwent line in 2013 when the line was inactive and of no further use to the previous railroad owner.  In 2016, IRW partnered with a quarry to establish a stone terminal at the south end of the line, near Derwent, and reactivated the line in its entirety.  Since that time, the stone terminal has served several counties, townships, and villages in the area, significantly reducing their transportation costs for required stone purchases.   This project will replace 1,500 ties along the line and perform other related work required to ensure safe FRA Class I track. 

Matthew Dietrich, Executive Director of the ORDC, said, “This project is an excellent example of how investments in shortline railroads in the state have positive economic impacts on the region.  By improving the rail infrastructure, ORDC is not only leveraging railroad investment but also improving critical infrastructure needed to provide rail service that supports the customers in the area. ORDC is happy to partner with IRW in their rehabilitation efforts.”

“Independence Rail Works, Ltd., a division of The Zemba Companies, is excited to undertake a large tie replacement project on our Byesville to Derwent line in Guernsey County. We appreciate ORDC’s guidance and support as we retain jobs in Guernsey and the surrounding counties, while being open to new transloading opportunities as they arise. As always, it’s an extreme pleasure to work with the staff of the ORDC and we look forward to future conversations and opportunities,” said Troy Hindel, Real Estate and Rail Operations, The Zemba Companies.