“The Watco Team is excited to serve customers in Ohio and West Virginia,” said Watco Chief Commercial Officer Ed McKechnie. “Our team is prepared to offer our new customers in the agriculture, energy and chemical industries the transportation service product they need to move their product to their end customer.”

KNWA plans to return the entire main line between West Virginia and the Columbus area to daily operation. Norfolk Southern suspended operations on part of the line in Ohio in early 2016 due to declining rail traffic volumes, and rerouted traffic to other routes.

“Our growth in Ohio and West Virginia will provide us the opportunity to serve new customers and build lasting relationships with local communities along the lines,” said Rob Thrall, vice president of business development for Watco Cos.

KNWA will soon begin the hiring process to ensure uninterrupted service to rail customers on the line and to restore service on portions of the main line not currently being operated. “The team we will assemble to operate the KNWA will make sure that our customers’ transportation needs will continue to be met every day,” said Thrall. “Following Watco’s Customer First Foundation Principles, we will strive to value our customers, value our people and safely improve every day.”

The KNWA will become the 36th short line railroad operated by WTS, which serves more than 1,000 customers.