One of two new switches being installed at Ashcroft Terminal over the weekend. The switches mean that rail cars can be loaded/unloaded on AT property now rather than while sitting on the main CP line.

One of two new switches being installed at Ashcroft Terminal over the weekend. The switches mean that rail cars can be loaded/unloaded on AT property now rather than while sitting on the main CP line.

New switches installed at Ashcroft Terminal

Ashcroft Terminal had two new switches installed on CP's main line.

Ashcroft Terminal began a new stage over the weekend as new switches were installed to divert rail cars onto sidings on the industrial property.

“It means we can quintuple our capacity,” said owner Bob Landucci on Oct. 12 as he watched heavy equipment remove a section of CP  rails to make way for the premade section of rail containing the switch,, worth about $600,000. “We’ve been waiting for this for seven years.”

Until now, CP has had to park its cars on the main rail as they were being loaded or unloaded, which lead to cars sitting on the track in Ashcroft, sometimes for long periods of time.

“It doesn’t seem like a big deal,” said Landucci, “but it is.”

He said Ashcroft Terminal put through 2,200 rail cars this year. He already has contracts for 4,000 in 2014 and he said it should be more like 6,000 cars by the end of next year.

The number of employees doesn’t necessarily expand with the number of rail cars. “We look at the business,” he said. Putting through more rail cars has the potential to increase the number of employees, but it depends on what type of service the cars require.

If it’s transloading, says Landucci, it means more employees. There are already 10-20 employees this year at Ashcroft Terminal. If they build a warehouse, it could be more.

“It’s capacity driven,” he says, “and now have the capacity to chase customers.”

Not being able to park rail cars on the property off the main rail line was hindering the amount of work they could do.

Landucci says the way it works is that the company pays for the switches and turns them over to CP Rail, where they become part of the main track.”It’s a gift,” he says with a chuckle.

“It means they’ll service our traffic better,” he says. “The better we make it for the railroad, the more fluid their traffi will be.

Ashcroft Mayor Andy Anderson was also watching the new construction throughout the weekend.

“We hope this will alleviate the cars sitting on the tracks in town,” he said.

Landucci said the work doesn’t end here. They’ll be putting down more track on the property for the rail cars to sit on. “We put 22,000 feet of track in this year,” he said. “We have lots more to build.”