Rail cargo facility in West Virginia goes up for auction

PRICHARD, W.Va. (AP) — A West Virginia rail cargo facility once touted for its potential economic benefits has been put up for auction.

The Heartland Intermodal Gateway facility opened in 2015 on 76 acres donated by Norfolk Southern railroad. Owned by the West Virginia Port Authority, it was designed to move containers more efficiently by rail through a double-stack method while offering a cheaper alternative to gas-guzzling trucks.

Officials had hoped the terminal could mirror the growth generated by other facilities in places such as Front Royal, Virginia, and Greer, South Carolina.

But officials said the $32 million facility in Prichard, the first of its kind in the state, had lost about a half million dollars a year.

Joe Pyle, whose auction company is handling the sale, told The Herald-Dispatch that the sealed bid auction began earlier this month and had received no bids as of Tuesday. But Pyle said he expected the facility to sell by the end of the April 2 bidding period.

The auction has no minimum bid set.

Pyle said there are a limited number of potential buyers who would have experience operating an intermodal or railroad facility.

Equipment from the facility will be auctioned off separately.

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Kassie Simmons joined the team in January 2019 as a weekend journalist. She graduated from Virginia Tech in just two and a half years with a BA in multimedia journalism. During her short time at Virginia Tech, she served as the editor for the university’s chapter of The Tab. Kassie was named the top reporter for The Tab at Virginia Tech on multiple occasions and made the list for the top 30 reporters for The Tab in the U.S. She also studied theater performance and minored in creative writing. Before coming to WOAY, Kassie interned at WSLS in Roanoke and the Tidewater Review in her hometown of West Point, Va. She has loved following breaking news since her childhood and has a passion for delivering the stories people care most about. Kassie is excited to be working in Southern West Virginia and looks forward to all the adventures ahead of her. You can follow her on Twitter at @KassieLSimmons and like her page on Facebook. If you have a story you think she should check out, send her an email at ksimmons@woay.com.