LANXESS and Waterloo Central Railway Celebrate Successful Partnership
ELMIRA, Ontario – LANXESS Elmira and the Waterloo Central Railway are celebrating one-year of a unique agreement that benefits both organizations, as well as residents in the nearby community.
For decades, LANXESS relied on large national railroads to provide the time-consuming and tedious – yet very important – job of switching rail cars throughout the facility for production and proper shipping schedules. Unfortunately, those providers often had larger volume, higher priority customers, which resulted in Elmira’s rail switching (and the associated noises) being conducted in the middle of the night – or not at all.
“Bigger rail companies squeezed us into their schedule when they could, which meant they’d usually arrive at 2 a.m. and often run out of time before needing to be at the next job,” said Helder Botelho, Head of Operations, LANXESS Canada. “This obviously created operational challenges for our plant as production would be on hold and it created community impacts that we try best to avoid.”
In search of a more reliable solution, the company connected with Waterloo Central Railway (WCR), a non-profit heritage railway that preserves historical rail cars and offers passenger train rides along the Waterloo Spur. The timing worked out perfectly for WCR, which was still withstanding operational economic impacts from the pandemic.
“Not only did this partnership come at a critical time financially for us, but it has broadened our portfolio as a freight provider and given our crews unique hands-on experience and specialty training opportunities,” said Bob Fallowfield, General Manager of WCR, which is owned and operated by the Southern Ontario Locomotive Restoration Society.
WCR crews are on site at the LANXESS Elmira facility each day to properly position rail cars based on the following day’s production schedule, providing the plant employees with predictability and the company’s Lubricant Additives business unit flexibility for its customers.
“Timing is everything, and we were able to make a very timely connection to provide a win all-around – from the operational hours for neighbors and the predictability for our suppliers and customers, to the awareness, appreciation and funding that this project has given WCR to preserve the region’s rich rail history,” Botelho said.
The funding from the partnership has allowed WCR to continue with important preservation projects, while also being able to put the well-maintained heritage locomotives back to work – a treat to crews and local train enthusiasts alike.
“We’re very proud of the relationship that we have with LANXESS, and for the opportunity that this partnership has created for our crews, our preservation efforts, and the many community members that enjoy our services and special activities throughout the region,” said Fallowfield.
For more information about the Waterloo Central Railway, please visit www.waterloocentralrailway.com.