By David Howell
WATER VALLEY – Progress on a Yalobusha company’s potential expansion plans, an update on the railroad that extends through the western portion of Yalobusha and a briefing about an upcoming visit from Mississippi Development Authority officials among the first topics discussed at the supervisors meeting held in Water Valley on Monday.
The topics were part of an update provided by Yalobusha County Economic Development Director Bob Tyler.
Tyler presented supervisors with a written a railroad report from Water Valley Mayor Larry Hart, who also serves as the chairman of the North Mississippi Railroad Coalition.
The coalition was formed when local officials learned that Canadian National (CN) was in the process of selling its Grenada Line to a new company. The lines runs from Canton to Memphis, and initial concerns were that the railroad would eventually be closed and the track sold for salvage.
The new company, Grenada Railway, LLC, agreed to operate the railroad for a minimum of two years in the purchase agreement.
They are now operating on what appears as a every-other-day schedule, according to Hart’s report. “It appears to be a schedule of every other day and tailored more to when needed,” the report stated.
Hart also reported the new company is beefing up its equipment and manpower on the line, operating four locomotive engines with two more in the plans and the hiring of a general manager, who will be stationed at the company’s headquarters in Grenada.
Hart also reported that Grenada Railway, LLC, and the North Mississippi Railroad Coalition is working with the state to identify funding sources to help repair two problematic bridges on the line.
“Service to the customers on the line is still intact, and the company will be working aggressively to improve service and add new customers,” the report also stated.
“After having much involvement with upper management of the parent company of Grenada Railway, I am thoroughly convinced it is their intention to make Grenada Railway a successfully company,” Hart concluded in the report, putting to rest speculation that the company’s intention was to only operate in the specified two-year guarantee before closing the railroad.
MDA visit to Yalobusha
Mississippi Development Authority will be sending several people to visit several industries in the county on Thursday.
“They want to go BorgWarner, Valley Tools and then over to the west side of the county to see Benny Fly,” Tyler updated supervisors.
“They are coming to see how these companies are doing and if they need anything,” Tyler told supervisors. “It is not any problem, they just want to visit.”
Topping his list was an update about negotiations with a Yalobusha company that is considering a multi-million dollar expansion that could create new jobs in the county.
“Negotiations continue at the state level,” Tyler said.
Tyler and supervisors have discussed the details of the potential expansion in recent meetings in executive session.