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Starting Up the Rapid City, Pierre & Eastern Railroad



Unlike other acquisitions by G&W over the years, the purchase of the Dakota, Minnesota & Eastern (DM&E) covered only the track, buildings, inventory, some vehicles, right of way and some commercial contracts. All other resources necessary to create and operate the railroad needed to be identified, built, purchased or created in five months in order to meet a June 1, 2014 launch date to coincide with the start of the South Dakota wheat harvest. (That 2014 harvest ended up being a history-making crop, exceeding previous years' production levels and the capcity of South Dakota's grain elevators.) 

The daunting task that confronted the integration team during the compressed time frame included hiring and training more than 180 employees and finding 50 locomotives and 2,500 railcars. In addition, customer operations and accounting systems had to be built from the ground up, operating and commercial sales teams had to be formed and communications licenses needed to be obtained from the Federal Trade Commission. The backbone of the effort was functional teams made up of internal G&W experts, each led by a senior officer.

By June 1, safety training had been conducted, nearly all the systems and customer interfaces had been pre-tested, employees had been hired and about half the cars acquired were in position – demonstrating G&W's experience and commitment to customer service.