LAS VEGAS - The operator of a short-line railroad near Kokomo is under new ownership. Las Vegas-based United Rail Inc. has acquired U S Rail Holdings in Ohio in a $4.5 million deal.

In addition to operating the Winamac and Southern Railroad, USRH also provides a number of rail transportation services, including transloading, private industrial rail car switching, track maintenance services, rail car repair, and rail car storage. 

Michael Barron, chief executive officer of United Rail, says the company's goal is to consolidate the smaller and sometimes overlooked short-line railroads under the United Rail banner.

"We plan to aggressively grow our presence in other markets," said Barron. "With the inclusion of USRH under the United Rail Inc. umbrella, we now have a pathway to effectively reach those small railroad companies who wish to sell."

As part of the deal, USRH CEO Danielle Mitchell has been named executive vice president of business development for United Rail. The USRH offices in Toledo, Ohio will become the operations hub for the companies acquired by United Rail, which plans to add five more railroads by the end of the year.