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Investor Spotlight: Lancaster & Chester Railroad

A rising tide lifts all boats, even when pulled by a train. That’s been a driving philosophy for the Lancaster & Chester Railroad (L&C), whose short-line railway has a long history of providing critical infrastructure in those two counties.

The L&C was launched in 1896 to serve the booming textile mills in the area, serving as a vital connection to regional and national railways. As the textile industry declined, rather than standing sidetracked and idle, L&C expanded into handling materials such as steel, coal, fiberglass, and sand for a variety of industries.

Along with its customer list, the company grew its rail lines, buying 30 miles of track from Norfolk Southern (NS) in 2001, giving it access to a thriving paper mill in northern Lancaster County and its current total of 85 miles.

The railways continued to haul agricultural products along the way – including barley, soybeans, and lumber – and added development of an industrial park to its resume’ as a significant player in its home community’s economic development.

Most recently, the L&C’s proven stability, versatility, and convenient rail ties to NS and CSX, have proven to be a vital piece of the recruiting puzzle that continues to attract significant new investment here. Highlights include $1.3 billion for a lithium battery components recycling plant by Albemarle Corporation and a $423 million production and distribution center by E. & J. Gallo, the legendary winery’s first such center outside of California.

L&C was heavily involved in both those projects, working closely with state and local officials, utility providers, site selection professionals, the S.C. I-77 Alliance, and most critically, with the companies themselves.

Matt Gedney Continues His Family’s Legacy with Investment in the Alliance

Economic development is a team sport. Matt Gedney knows that well. His father, the late Steve Gedney, had been president of the L&C for nearly 20 years until it was sold to Gulf & Ohio Railways in 2010. The younger Gedney is now the parent company’s chief development officer while staying closely connected to the Lancaster-based rail line he grew up watching his father lead.

“We always believed in regionalism in economic development and recruitment and were among the founders of the Alliance and of its predecessors,” Matt Gedney says. “The work the Alliance does becomes ever more crucial as recruiting becomes more competitive and the industries we recruit become more advanced and specialized. They have a lot of requirements and a lot of choices.”

Gedney serves on the Alliance board and his railroad remains a committed investor. He points to the value-added services and products the Alliance provides to the organization’s five-county region, including strategic planning, workforce assessment, research, and data platforms.

“It’s a symbiotic relationship, and we all benefit. No one community, or county, or even the state can do this kind of work on their own. You need something like the Alliance to bring all these resources and people together when it comes to targeting a specific company and matching their needs to what you have to offer,” Gedney says.

“That’s why we consider our participation as an Alliance investor to be so important. It’s an investment in creating and maintaining the kind of economic growth now sweeping across the I-77 corridor, creating great jobs and all that comes with it. This is my hometown and it’s exciting on a professional and personal level.”

About L&C Railroad

The L&C Railroad is a short-line railroad based in Lancaster, South Carolina, just south of Charlotte, North Carolina. In continuous operation for more than 125 years, the L&C Railroad operates 85 miles of track that connects existing transload facilities and more than 3,000 acres of industrially zoned property in Chester and Lancaster counties to the national rail network through both CSX and Norfolk Southern. The 10 locomotives and four train crews handle liquid chemicals, plastics, and agricultural products, including lumber. L&C Railroad is now one of four short-line railroads held by Gulf & Ohio Railways.

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