A Canadian company signed an agreement to buy the former Youngstown & Southern Railroad from the Columbiana County Port Authority.
Privately held Tervita Corp. of Calgary, Canada, will pay $2.9 million in cash for the 36-mile rail line between Youngstown and Darlington, Pa., the Port Authority said.
Tracy Drake, chief executive officer of the Port Authority, said similar short lines in Pennsylvania are benefiting by carrying pipe, sand, water and other material needed by companies drilling in the Marcellus and Utica shale natural gas fields in western Pennsylvania and eastern Ohio.
"My expectation is, the way the industry is going, this will be a pretty profitable move for Tervita," Drake said.
The Port Authority owned the rail line for at least 10 years. Drake said it paid its way in good economic times and was a drain in bad times, but he said it was important to preserve it as an asset to the region.