Milton plant’s return illustrates resurgence of rail industry in area

In 2009, ACF Industries in Milton closed its plant for all the usual reasons lack of business and marketability. More than 200 employees were put out of work. That was then, This is now.

And now, the company has become a very important component to the energy indusrtry, manufacturing rail cars that are used in the Dakotas and Canada to transport crude oil to refineries across the country.

About 100 workers in hard hats welcomed Gov. Tom Corbett to a re-opening of the rail car manufacturing plant recently. If the governor makes another visit a year or so from now, there will be an additional 100 employees to greet him if projections hold true.

The company also has plans to manufacture stationary propane tanks by the end of the year.

ACF’s resurgence is a reflection of the growth of the energy industry in the state and its greater reliance on the rail industry.

This was an industry supposedly dead a generation ago that is now a major cog in the natural gas industry in Pennsylvania.

The concerns regarding the environmental safety of the natural gas industry in this state are understandable. And it’s up to those charged with the responsibility for environmental safety to do their job in that regard.

But amid the watchdogging, let’s not forget real, everyday people benefit economically from the success of the industry, whether they are drilling a gas well or building a rail car.

ACF’s resurgence is testimony to that.