For much of its first century, Genesee & Wyoming was a 14-mile railroad serving a single customer in upstate New York. The company has since grown to be a leading owner and operator of short line and regional freight railroads serving more than 2,000 customers over 15,000 miles of track in five countries.
The original 14-mile railroad is purchased out of bankruptcy by Edward L. Fuller and his financial partners to transport salt from their mine in Western New York State. The mine in Retsof, N.Y., would become the largest producing rock salt mine in the world, and the company became the International Salt Corporation. The railroad, renamed the Genesee and Wyoming Railroad Company (GNWR), continues as a separate, independent business.
Mortimer B. Fuller III, great grandson of Edward L. Fuller, purchases a controlling interest in GWRR – still a 14-mile railroad serving principally one customer.
A holding company, Genesee & Wyoming Industries, is formed and the GWRR merged into it to facilitate diversification of the business. The company enters the rail car leasing and management business primarily focused on covered hoppers to serve the salt industry.
The Staggers Act deregulates railroads, which are then allowed to dispose of routes that they could not operate profitably, helping to restore their financial health. Locally, Fuller works with NYDOT, the B&O and D&H in the restructuring of Conrail and the rail system serving International Salt, then the largest rail shipper in New York State. He learns the contribution that small railroads can make to improving rail system efficiency at a time when the industry is struggling and constrained by lack of capital for investment.
1985 – 1996
During post-Staggers Act restructuring, G&W’s acquisitions are 100% domestic, including the 1996 purchase of Rail Link, a leading provider of industrial switching and port rail services. Now focused on short line and regional freight railroads, the company changes its name to Genesee & Wyoming Inc. and goes public in June of 1996.
Acquisitions during this period include:
1985: Dansville & Mount Morris Railroad
1986: Rochester & Southern Railroad
1987: Louisiana & Delta Railroad
1988: Buffalo & Pittsburgh Railroad
1992: Allegheny & Eastern Railroad,
Bradford Industrial Rail
1993: Willamette & Pacific Railroad
1995: Portland & Western Railroad
1996: Illinois & Midland Railroad,
Pittsburg & Shawmut Railroad,
Rail Link, Inc.
1997 – 2000
As bidding competition increases for U.S. railroads, G&W’s acquisition focus is 100% international as other countries privatize and restructure their rail industries:
1997: Huron Central Railway,
Quebec Gatineau Railway,
Australia Southern Railroad
2000: Australian Railroad Group (ARG) formed with 50% joint-venture
partner Wesfarmers Ltd
2001 – 2005
G&W’s acquisition focus returns to domestic opportunities in a period of decreased bidding competition:
2001: South Buffalo Railway
2002: Emons Industries Inc. [St. Lawrence & Atlantic Railroad,
St. Lawrence & Atlantic Railroad (Quebec), York Railway],
2003: Georgia Pacific Railroads [Chattahoochee Industrial Railroad,
Arkansas Louisiana and Mississippi Railroad, Fordyce and
2004: Tazewell & Peoria Railroad,
Golden Isles Terminal Wharf
2005: First Coast Railroad
Rail Management Corporation [AN Railway, Atlantic & Western Railway,
The Bay Line Railroad, East Tennessee Railway,
Georgia Central Railway, KWT Railway,
Little Rock & Western Railway, Meridian & Bigbee Railroad,
Riceboro Southern Railway, Tomahawk Railway,
Valdosta Railway, Western Kentucky Railway]
2006 – present
In the current “Rail Renaissance”, G&W is pursuing organic growth opportunities as well as both domestic and international acquisitions:
2006: Sale of ARG by G&W and Wesfarmers. Genesee & Wyoming Australia created when G&W purchases Wesfarmers' 50% ownership of certain South Australian operations of ARG.
Chattahoochee Bay Railroad
2007: Maryland Midland Railway
2008: Rotterdam Rail Feeding,
CAGY Industries [Columbus & Greenville Railway,
Chattooga & Chickamauga Railway,
Luxapalila Valley Railroad],
Ohio Central Railroad System [Ohio Central Railroad,
Columbus & Ohio River Railroad, Mahoning Valley Railway,
Ohio & Pennsylvania Railroad, Warren & Trumbull Railroad,
Youngstown & Austintown Railroad, Youngstown Belt Railroad,
Pittsburgh & Ohio Central Railroad, Aliquippa & Ohio River Railroad],
Georgia Southwestern Railroad
2009: The Willamette & Pacific becomes the first G&W railroad to receive the E.H. Harriman Gold Award for the best safety performance of any U.S. railroad working between 250,000 and four million man-hours. The Willamette & Pacific also received two President's Awards from the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association (ASLRRA) -- only the second time a railroad has ever won two President's Awards -- for best safety performance and most injury-free man-hours in 2008.
2010: The Buffalo & Pittsburgh receives the E.H. Harriman Gold Award for best safety performance of any U.S. railroad between 250,000 and four million man-hours, as well as two ASLRRA President's Awards for best safety performance and most injury-free man-hours.
Western Labrador Rail Services created to transport iron ore from Consolidated Thompson's mine in Bloom Lake, Quebec, to Wabush, Labrador.
G&W complete's its 35th and largest acquisition to date, the 1,400-mile Tarcoola to Darwin rail line in Australia.
2011: Arizona Eastern Railway
Hilton & Albany Railroad
2012: The Buffalo & Pittsburgh receives its third-consecutive E.H. Harriman Gold Award for best safety performance of any U.S. railroad between 250,000 and four million man-hours and the ASLRRA President's Award for best safety performance. The Portland & Western Railroad receives the E.H. Harriman Silver Award, and South Buffalo Railway Mechanical Supervisor Mark Sheffield becomes the only short line employee ever to win the Harold F. Hammond Award for outstanding safety achievement.
Tyrone James, G&W Senior Vice President, Safety and Compliance, is named Safety Professional of the Year by the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association.
Columbus & Chattahoochee Railroad
Rail America [Alabama & Gulf Coast Railway; Arizona & California Railroad;
Bauxite & Northern Railway; California Northern Railroad;
Cape Breton & Central Nova Scotia Railway; Carolina Piedmont Railroad;
Cascade and Columbia River Railroad; Central Oregon & Pacific Railroad;
Central Railroad of Indiana; Central Railroad of Indianapolis;
Chesapeake & Albemarle Railroad;
Chicago, Fort Wayne & Eastern Railroad;
Conecuh Valley Railway; Connecticut Southern Railroad;
Dallas, Garland & Northeastern Railroad; Eastern Alabama Railway;
Goderich-Exeter Railway; Grand Rapids Eastern Railroad;
Huron and Eastern Railway; Indiana & Ohio Railway;
Indiana Southern Railroad; Kiamichi Railroad;
Kyle Railroad; Marquette Rail;
Massena Terminal Railroad; Michigan Shore Railroad;
Mid-Michigan Railroad; Missouri & Northern Arkansas Railroad;
New England Central Railroad; North Carolina & Virginia Railroad;
Ottawa Valley Railway; Otter Tail Valley Railroad;
Point Comfort & Northern Railway; Puget Sound & Pacific Railroad;
Rockdale, Sandow & Southern Railroad; San Diego & Imperial Valley Railroad;
San Joaquin Valley Railroad; Southern Ontario Railway;
South Carolina Central Railroad Company; Texas Northeastern Railroad;
Toledo, Peoria & Western Railway; Ventura County Railroad;
Wellsboro & Corning Railroad; Wiregrass Central Railway]
2013: Susie Klinger, Operations Manager of Tomahawk Railway, becomes the first employee of a G&W railroad named Safety Person of the Year by the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association.
2014: Rapid City, Pierre & Eastern Railroad
2015: Arkansas Midland, Prescott & Northwestern, and Warren & Saline River Railroads