Pacific Imperial Railroad
|Pacific Imperial Railroad, Inc.|
|Locale||Southern Border Region, Southern California|
|Dates of operation||2011–Present|
|Track gauge||4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge|
2776 Gateway RoadCarlsbad, CA 92009
|Website||Pacific Imperial Railroad|
Pacific Imperial Railroad, Inc. (PIR), was incorporated in Delaware on October 27, 2011 and qualified to do business in California on April 23, 2012, having its stated objectives being to lease, rehabilitate, reopen and resume service, manage, operate, and maintain the entire Desert Line from "Mileposts 59.94" at or near the U.S. Border in "Division" to "Milepost 130.0" at Plaster City, west of El Centro.
On December 20, 2012, PIR executed a 99 year lease with San Diego and Arizona Eastern Railway (SD&AE) and San Diego Metropolitan Transit System (MTS), owners of the Desert Line right of way. The Desert Line extends from east San Diego County (border with Baja California) to western Imperial County.
In 2012, following the embargo of the Carrizo Gorge Railway (CZRY) in October 2008 and the loss of operating rights in the Mexican Tecate-Tijuana segment, Pacific Imperial Railroad, Inc. replaced the San Diego and Imperial Valley Railroad as the rail operator between Plaster City and the border near Campo.
On February 15, 2013, Pacific Imperial Railroad announced Ernest Dahlman as its CEO and Donald Stoecklein as the company's president. On October 2013, Stoecklein announced retirement from his role as president. In November, the railroad selected David Rohal, former Chief Operating Officer of RailAmerica, as its second president, with Sheila LeMire as COO. Rohal also had experience with CSX, Genesee & Wyoming, Patriot Rail, and the Florida East Coast Railway.
On February 4, 2014, Ernest Dahlman and all management employees except President David Rohal and Controller and Treasurer Raul Pulido were terminated because of financial difficulties. On February 6, 2014, after receiving a Written Consent of the Majority Shareholders naming a new Board of Directors, Rohal and Pulido left the company as well.
On March 2014, former officials of PIR have investigated the corporate controllers of the railroad for fraud. "They have never been able to build a successful business", according to Rohal. On June, local Congressman Duncan D. Hunter (R-CA) called for more details of PIR's lease with the MTS.
PIR entered into an agreement with J.L. Patterson & Associates, Inc. to initiate inspections to the line to evaluate initial repairs and plans for test trains to begin operating in 2014. Additionally, PIR purchased three locomotives recently, which are stored operable in Plaster City;(Three ex-Idaho Northern & Pacific Railroad EMD GP40 locomotives with reporting marks of STBX 4500, STBX 4501, and STBX 4504)
PIR made a payment of $500,000 to SD&AE as part of the lease.
SD&AE CEO Paul Jablonski has mentioned "they will now proceed with the reconstruction plan assessment of the 57 bridges and performing the necessary repairs" So far, J.L. Patterson has completed initial repairs by clearing sand from the line that blew into the line's right-of-way with a ballast regulator and ran a high-tech Holland Track Geometry Hi-Rail truck on the Desert Line to identify defects on the entire Desert line. Initial PIR repairs to tracks and bridges to run work trains to get the line in shape for revenue freight have failed to meets deadlines mandated by the San Diego & Arizona Eastern Railway (MTS).
PIR officials target the maquiladora market by interchanging with the Baja California Railroad in Mexico in the west-end and with Union Pacific Railroad in Plaster City. Improvements to the "Desert Line" started in August 2013.
The last freight movements thru the area was sand exports for the construction market in the United States from Mexico, which stopped after environmental concerns.
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