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Patriot Rail adds track along Mississippi River in latest deal

Short-line operator enters agreement to acquire Delta Southern Railroad

Patriot Rail is back on the acquisition trail after doubling its portfolio through M&A earlier this month. (Photo: DSRR)

Short-line operator Patriot Rail Company announced it has entered into an agreement to acquire Delta Southern Railroad (DSRR).

DSRR runs more than 40 miles of track, serving two port facilities in Louisiana — Lake Providence Port and Madison Parish Port ­— which are located along the Mississippi River. The company’s two short-line segments interchange with Class I railroads Kansas City Southern and Union Pacific (NYSE: UNP). The tracks primarily serve chemical manufacturers and shippers in the forest industry.

Financial terms of the transaction were not provided.

“Including Delta Southern in Patriot Rail’s expanding network will enable further competitive options for rail shippers in Louisiana and across the country,” Patriot Rail CEO John Fenton stated in a news release. “This strategic acquisition adds to the company’s most recent expansion and exemplifies our growth focus on quality rail franchises to meet customer needs.”

Jacksonville, Florida-based Patriot Rail announced in August that it was acquiring Denver-based Pioneer Lines. That deal closed on Sept. 14 and doubled the size of Patriot’s portfolio, adding 15 short-line railroads across 12 states.

Once the DSRR deal closes, Patriot Rail will operate 32 short-line railroads in 23 states. DSRR is the second railroad in Louisiana for Patriot Rail, which already runs the Louisiana and North West Railroad.

In addition to its short-line portfolio, Patriot Rail has a rail services segment providing railcar storage, maintenance and repair, as well as switching, transloading and engineering services.

“We are excited to join a highly respected company like Patriot, which has a strong track record of growth and significant resources to continue building a first-class rail network,” said DSRR CEO Jon Ryan. “I am incredibly proud of the strong foundation that DSRR has built, and as we bring together two best-in-class companies, I am excited to see what we can accomplish together.”

The transaction requires regulatory approval and is subject to closing conditions.

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Todd Maiden

Based in Richmond, VA, Todd is the finance editor at FreightWaves. Prior to joining FreightWaves, he covered the TLs, LTLs, railroads and brokers for RBC Capital Markets and BB&T Capital Markets. Todd began his career in banking and finance before moving over to transportation equity research where he provided stock recommendations for publicly traded transportation companies.