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Wheeling and Lake Erie

Railway is celebrating a big

milestone in 2015: its 25th

anniversary.

“It’s a great success story,”

shared Drew Nelson, the

Vice President of Marketing,

who has been with the new

ownership since day one. “The

first part of our history was a

struggle, but the company has

persevered through the rough

patches to enjoy its successful

present.”

The Executive Vice President

of Wheeling, Jonathan

Chastek, has worked for

the company in positions

from track maintenance,

to conductor, to engineer,

proving his grasp of the

culture and history the railway.

“Our focus on customer

service is unparalleled,” he

said. “We provide the services

of a Class I railroad, but can

offer a better, more personal,

customer experience than

many of the larger rails, where

it can be easy to lose sight of

what’s important to clients.”

The Wheeling and Lake Erie

Railway is a Class II regional

railroad that provides freight

service, mainly in Ohio. The

company was founded in

1871 to address the need for

a rail to connect Wheeling,

the West Virginia coal fields,

and Lake Erie port cities and

facilities. Today’s Wheeling

was spun off from Nofolk

Southern in 1990; current

management took the

company over in 1992 and has

seen the railway flourish since.

Chastek credited this to

the team’s commitment to

the continuous investment

in infrastructure, brought

on by the railway’s traffic

increasing at a rate that was

not sustainable before the

investment.

Wheeling’s expansion of its

yard facilities has opened up

huge opportunities for the

railway. With an extra 40,000

feet of track in Brewster Yard,

its switching capacity—how

fast the railway can switch

out the cars on a train—has

doubled. The company has

also purchased 16 additional

locomotives and increased

its manpower by doubling its

workforce, which includes its

conductors.

Coordinating this expanded

pipeline of work is no small

feat, so teamwork and

communication between all

levels and departments within

Wheeling is necessary.

“It takes teamwork from all

of Wheeling’s departments,

not just the guys physically

moving the trains,” said

Chastek. “If one part of the

railroad falls, we have a big

problem with logistics. The

strong partnerships within

all aspects of the company

ensure that Wheeling can

continue to move freight

uninterrupted.”

This open line of

communication also extends

to Wheeling’s clients, with

whom the company is in

touch on a regular basis.

Wheeling’s employees often

form personal relationships

SUCCESS

“If one part of the railroad falls, we have a big problem

with logistics. It takes teamwork from all of Wheeling’s

departments, not just the guys physically moving the trains.”

– Jonathan Chastek, Executive VP