Small railroads are seeing big opportunities in hauling corn to ethanol plants and then transporting the finished product and by-products back out again.
Chief operating officer Mark Wegner said his trains carry mainly corn and soybeans. But ethanol is working it’s way into the lineup.
“It has gotten everybody’s attention and it is seen as a huge opportunity,” said Wegner.
Besides the Twin Cities and Western, Wegner also helps manages a second company, the 94-mile-long Minnesota Prairie Line. He said ethanol accounts for almost a quarter of the business on the two railroads. An ethanol plant in Granite Falls is one customer.
“Granite Falls, which opened in December of 2005, we do a good program of bringing corn into it as well as bringing ethanol and DDG’s out,” Wegner said.
DDG stands for distillers dried grain, an ethanol byproduct used for livestock feed.