The grand opening for Railex Wine Services (aka Railex Innovate Wine Distribution and Wallula Wine Services) was held the 25th of April, 2013 at their new Wallula, WA facility with attendance of about 200 people. The ceremony was by invitation only and guests received a two bottle gift box set of Ste. Michelle purveyed wines. Guests were members of Ste. Michelle, Railex and various government officials.
Railex slates itself as a "green" company with temperature controlled warehouses, train and truck trailer shipping points of business that offer services nationwide from three warehouse centers in the USA. Other locations of facilities are in Delano, CA and Rotterdam, NY (which also lends to servicing eastern Canada by truck), all serviced by railroad, with facilities slated to also be located in the Midwest near Chicago (Wikipedia) and in the SouthEast at Jacksonville, FL.
The company claims that:
if 10% of long-haul freight now moving by truck moved by rail instead, annual greenhouse gas emissions would fall by more than 12 million tons. That's equivalent to taking 2 million cars off the road or planting 280 million trees. Railex http://www.railexusa.com/site/the-green-choice.html
a train reduces 85,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions and saves 5 million gallons of fuel per year for 1 train on a one way move. Railex https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=4&cad=rja&sqi=2&ved=0CE4QFjAD&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wstc.wa.gov%2FMeetings%2FAgendasMinutes%2Fagendas%2F2010%2FMar16%2F20100316_BP03_RailExWebinarPres.pdf&ei=W5BtUeO-MaakiQL2mYHwDg&usg=AFQjCNEMKfCuFURJp_ljqvBulICAAEyvNQ&sig2=05rieol_MoV5eyDLMoXFCA
The system also reduces the burden of wear and tear on the national highway system infrastructure and reduces long-haul trucking requirements, internationally.
The Wallula Wine Services constructed a stand-alone bonded warehouse facility of 500,000 square feet in addition to a 220,000 square foot Railex building at a cost of $20M and an additional $4.05M of public funds toward infrastructure. This new building will be used predominantly for storing and shipping of Ste. Michelle wines, which produces about 65% of the wines grown in the State of Washington. The new facility can store approximately 5M cases of wine and will immediately add 25 more employees with about 100 more jobs added later. Ste. Michelle is the primary user of the new warehouse services, but Railes is expecting other wineries to utilize the facility.
The parent company services the shipment of perishable products as well as other commodities from coast to coast. They have 55 refrigerated railcars that can transport the equivalent of 220 truckloads of merchandise weekly. They are a business partner with The Port of Walla Walla at the Wallula, WA Dodd Road Business Park facility, the Rotterdam Industrial Park, NY and the Airport Industrial Park in Delano, CA. Five day shipping from coast-to-coast is offered through the company and Railex attempts to eliminate deadheading and ships goods, as often as possible, in both directions. They also ship wines of Europe to the West Coast from East Coast ports of entry.
How this service came to be was that a farmer named Andy Pollak from New York had a discussion in 2005 with:
. . . Union Pacific . . . Railroad and CSX (Corporation) . . . about dedicating a single train full of refrigerated cars that could travel from the West Coast to the East Coast without getting waylaid. The railroads were interested and would guarantee delivery in five days, provided a couple of things: That the train ran at least once a week, so the railroads could be sure that the cars and locomotives it dedicated to the service would be used regularly, and (that the company was charged) with loading and unloading the delicate goods. zoominfo http://www.zoominfo.com/#!search/profile/person?personId=825485788&targetid=profile
Pollak stated that, “Everybody, in one way or another, benefits from projects like this.”
A similar approach has been used by the US Atomic Energy Commission ("The Hot Train") in past decades through the use of railroad lines. When the federal government desired to transport radioactive materials across the country, they obtained full and dedicated use of the rail system and all other railroad traffic on the line(s) was shut down at a moment's notice, as a matter of safety concern, until the federal government was through with their shipment. The Milwaukee Railroad participated in this federal program. The Railex system appears to be in better cooperation with the railroads than the government has been, as the railroads may continue their own scheduling of operations during these Railex shipping periods and are not presented with dead line time (not knowing exactly when and where they may begin using their tracks again).
The Railex company has come to be known as "The Cold Train" and "The Fresh Express" and has been in operation since the 19th of October 2006 as a limited liability company (LLC).
A pair of train routes collectively known as the ï¿½Fresh Expressï¿½ is connecting farmers to consumers on the East Coast.
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