Steel company gets state grant to upgrade rail spur

LORDSTOWN — A steel coil processing company has gotten a state grant to upgrade a railroad spur to solidify its business and save on costly rail service repairs.

The $56,125 from the Ohio Rail Development Commission is half of the project at Taylor Coil Processing to beef up 100-pound rail to 115-pound rail at its plant on Industrial Trace. The project is a full rebuild of the line.

“This project allows us to continue to transport our product in and out of the facility by rail, which is a service many of our customers require. All major U.S. mills use rail as a vital part of their transportation needs. It’s a critical aspect of maintaining our operations here,” said James Green, quality systems manger for Taylor, in a news release.

The commission Wednesday OK’d the grant.

Taylor is funding 50 percent of the work, according to documents with the rail development commission that also state the company has spent nearly $250,000 in the last 12 years on repairs.

Taylor, a division of Taylor Steel, is a steel processing operation that employs 67 full-time plant and office workers. The company, which processes steel coils that weigh 5,000 to 60,000 pounds, provides services that include slitting, tension leveling and cut-to-length work, according to the rail commission.

In 2018, more than 350 million pounds of steel were transported in and out of the facility with 10 to 15 percent of that by rail, according to the Youngstown Warren Regional Chamber, which helped Taylor with the rail commission’s application process.

“Rail service is a major component in maintaining TCP’s revenue stream, solidifying current business levels, and most importantly, retaining TCP’s employees,” rail commission documents state. “Having rail capability is a strong selling point to current and potential customers. It is cheaper than truck transportation, and all major U.S. steel mills prefer to use rail when possible.”

Said Lauren Johnson, manager of business development at the chamber, “We want our companies to continue to be as competitive as possible in today’s market. The Taylor project is a great example of a company doing just that.”