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Former ACR operator surfaces on West Coast

Railmark Holdings acquires California short-line railroad
Railmark photo
(Railmark Holdings photo)

The former operator of the Algoma Central passenger train has surfaced on the U.S. Pacific coast with the acquisition of a closed short-line railroad.

Railmark Holdings announced Dec. 30 that it has acquired the Yreka Western Railroad Company, a railroad serving the Siskiyou County, California communities of Yreka and Montague.

In a news release from its Madison, KY office, Railmark said it will be serving industrial customers on the line along with providing rail intermodal, mechanical and track repair services.

The railroad interchanges with the Union Pacific Railroad and Central Oregon & Pacific Railroad in Montague, California.

“Since 1889 the Yreka Western Railroad’s mission was to serve as an economic catalyst for the communities of Yreka and Montague and the need to refocus on this mission remains true today,” said Railmark president-CEO B. Allen Brown in a statement. “Railmark is looking forward to transforming the Yreka Western Railroad into a modern and important driver for the area’s economy and using this acquisition to expand Railmark’s footprint to the Pacific Northwest market."

Railmark is best known in northeastern Ontario for its brief fling at running the Sault Ste. Marie-to-Hearst passenger service in 2015.

Then based in Wixom, Mich., Railmark was picked by Canadian National Railway, the track’s owners, to run the service but was unable to obtain private financing in order to access a Transport Canada subsidy. There were also stakeholder complaints about diminished level of service.

CN cancelled the service in July 2015. No replacement operator has been named but the Missanabie Cree First Nation is putting together a business plan to restore service and become the new operator.