Rail storage firm eyes agriculture

A new storage and mustering site will accommodate 300 rail cars by the end of this month when Alberta Midland Railway Terminal Ltd. opens its first phase in Lamont County northeast of Edmonton.

And by this fall, likely sometime in October, the new terminal will have an 850-rail car capacity to serve private fleet owners and rail shippers.

“Our phase one, we’re doing rail car storage, mostly for the energy companies that surround Alberta’s industrial heartland, but I see us also providing storage services to ag companies,” said president Darcy Heggie.

“My background is agriculture and agribusiness, so we are working hard on development initiatives involving agriculture and we hope to see those come to fruition here in the next year or two.”

Heggie and his father, R.K. Heggie, are the founders of AMRT, along with former Canadian Pacific Railway general manager Shawn I. Smith.

R.K. Heggie Grain Ltd. operates Transmark, a multi-modal rail transfer and storage facility near Lethbridge. Smith has an executive position with Northern Plains Railroad, a North Dakota short line, which is a strategic partner in the AMRT venture.

Also involved is Dominion Railway Services, which provides industrial and yard track designs, rail network capacity and operations planning.

The AMRT project will cost $35 to $40 million, said Heggie.

“We’re still figuring out the model, but it’s a great area for production,” he said.

“I guess the other thing to note is a vast majority of our shareholder base come from Alberta and agriculture backgrounds. It’s something we’re proud of and something we’ll try to capitalize on.”

The project, 5.5 kilometres from the town of Lamont, sits near the Canadian National Railway prairie north line with a quarter section plus another 27 acres of space. It will accommodate about 48,000 feet of tracks designed for empty rail car storage. Another 12,000 feet will be used for switching and temporary storage. A small on-site repair area is also part of the plan.

As well, AMRT has property along the nearby CP line to the north of the CN site and intends to have assets operating on both rail lines in the future.

Heggie said Lamont County has been helpful with permits and stakeholder relations for the project and is “very forward-thinking” in its approach.

“The county, I think they see the value of energy development but also respect where agriculture has got them and what the future of agriculture can bring to the county.”

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