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, today 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 Railroad
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: G&W privatizes Australia National's South Australia business
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:St. Lawrence & Atlantic Railroad
St. Lawrence & Atlantic Railroad (Quebec)
2003:Chattahoochee Industrial Railroad
Arkansas Louisiana and Mississippi Railroad
Arkansas Louisiana & Mississippi Railroad
Fordyce and Princeton R.R.
2004:Tazewell & Peoria Railroad
Golden Isles Terminal Wharf
2005:First Coast Railroad
Atlantic & Western Railway
The Bay Line Railroad
East Tennessee Railway
Georgia Central Railway
Little Rock & Western Railway
Meridian & Bigbee Railroad
Riceboro Southern Railway
Western Kentucky Railway
G&W acquires Rail America, doubling the size of the company with the 43 additional railroads as well as the Columbus & Chattahoochee Railroad.
Columbus & Chattahoochee Railroad
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, Ft. Wayne & Eastern Railroad
Conecuh Valley Railway
Connecticut Southern Railroad
Dallas, Garland & Northeastern Railroad
Eastern Alabama Railway
Grand Rapids Eastern Railroad
Huron and Eastern Railway
Indiana & Ohio Railway
Indiana Southern Railroad
Massena Terminal Railroad
Michigan Shore Railroad
Missouri & Northern Arkansas Railroad
New England Central 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
Texas Northeastern Railroad
Toledo, Peoria & Western Railway
Ventura County Railroad
Wellsboro & Corning Railroad
Wiregrass Central Railway