First Rail Car in Nearly 30 Years Leaves from Rail Spur at Royal Metal Powders
Maryville, Tenn. – A sigh of relief escaped from Royal Metal Powders president Mike Lutheran as he watched a rail car loaded with copper leave on a newly constructed rail spur from his expanded facility located at 433 Continental Drive in Maryville, Tenn.
“It truly was a great sight to see that rail car pull out of here,” said Lutheran. “It’s been a long wait and the relief of seeing our operation expand is really exciting.”
According to Norfolk Southern Railroad, it’s been at least 30 years since it last installed a switch on a branch line for a new customer. The rail spur, which is ¼ mile long, connects off the main line which services other businesses in Blount County.
“Without the support of the local community, the state and the neighbors to get this project done we most likely would not have expanded our operations in Maryville,” said Lutheran. “We would have looked elsewhere for an existing rail site.”
The $1 million project was funded with state and local dollars along with cooperation from Rockford Manufacturing, whose land the rail crosses, and the city of Rockford.
“Mike had a plan that we fully supported it and worked with him to get this job done,” said Bryan Daniels, president/CEO of the Blount Partnership. “His investment in the community to keep his business here was also supported by the state and Rockford.”
The project, which was targeted for an April 2012 completion, took nearly a year to finish after being hampered by rain delays at the beginning of the year.
With the rail spur in operation now, Lutheran expects an uptick in operations after hiring a purchasing agent to find raw materials locally.
“It will be a slow ramp up due to the delay,” said Lutheran. “Our goal is to get good raw materials from Tennessee, the Carolinas and the East Coast. We hope to be bringing materials in and out on a weekly basis.”
Royal Metal Powders Inc. is a manufacturer of high quality copper based powders used in industrial applications.