We’re excited to share an update on the construction of our new, state-of-the-art, 60,000-square-foot finishing work center in Meridian, Mississippi. We’re continuing to make steady progress toward completion while maintaining our Zero Today emphasis on safety. When completed, our new work center will be able to handle all aspects of railcar finishing at a greater capacity and increased efficiency, including interior and exterior blasting and interior and exterior coating while still providing complete mechanical repair services.
Construction sites can be a bit deceptive—especially in the early-stages--because any given moment is only a snapshot of a lengthy, complex process that can be unpredictable despite the best-laid plans. Our construction site has the added dynamic of being adjacent to a fully operational railcar repair shop where our high-quality work on our customers’ railcars continues uninterrupted.
But as days have become weeks and then months, new spaces and structures are beginning to become recognizable. There’s a lot of work ahead over the coming months but here’s a progress update:
Since breaking ground this year, we have been working on clearing the footprint for the new finishing work center. The biggest effort was the relocation of our railcar cleaning operations building and its utilities. To accomplish this, we tackled a lot of site work including clearing trees and the installation of new electrical service (which required long runs of underground boring by the electric company). After experiencing some weather delays, the electric company started and completed underground boring and transferred power to a new underground service while removing all the overhead power service that was in the way of the new structures.
We have completed the foundational work for the relocation of the cleaning operation such as pouring concrete footers and floors while integrating into a new disposal system. The cleaning structure was then dismantled piece by piece and reassembled in the new location. We are now working on installing all the internal infrastructure for the cleaning operation.
We’ve also completed installation of a new data line and are currently in the process of installing an elaborate storm sewer system for the new main building.
We’ve worked closely with state regulators to ensure that any changes we make to the site and surrounding areas are fully compliant with applicable laws and regulations.
When completed later this year, our new finishing work center will house nine car positions to enable blasting, interior and exterior coating, stenciling, assembly and final rinse, and final quality inspections.