The railway track maintenance industry is a big-dollar business dominated by just a handful of highly specialized firms. In North America, where railroads spend well over $6 billion a year maintaining their track, one of the largest companies of the industry is Loram Maintenance of Way, Inc. Founded in 1954, Loram Maintenance of Way started out as a small operation having just a handful of employees and a product line consisting of two simple machines. In the many years since that unpretentious beginning, the company has become one of the leading suppliers of track maintenance machinery and services in North America.
To all the major railroads in the U.S., Canada and Mexico, the Loram name is synonymous with technologically sophisticated, high-production machinery. The company's reputation for producing state-of-the-art equipment is surpassed only by its reputation for providing the highest quality service. Loram's specialties as a manufacturer of machinery and a contractor for services are reflected by its two main operating departments. The Ballast and Grade Service Department operates the company's large and diversified fleet of machinery for such tasks as resurfacing track, cleaning ballast and ditches along the right of way. The Grinding Service Department is responsible for operating Loram's large fleet of rail grinding machines.
Loram machines are both sold and leased to railroads, but the company's reputation rests on its performance as a contractor offering a wide range of track maintenance services to major railroads. This reputation goes back to 1954, when Mannix International, the company that eventually became Loram Maintenance of Way, entered the field of railway track maintenance as a contractor supplying machinery for ballast work. In the beginning, Mannix International's business was built around two undertrack machines, the Mannix Sled and the Mannix Plow, which greatly simplified the task of raising and reballasting track.
These first two machines were the starting point for a product line that now includes a wide array of equipment for track maintenance work. During the 1950's and 1960's, Mannix International improved its undertrack equipment and began manufacturing other types of machines. By 1974, when the company was renamed Loram Maintenance of Way, the product line had been expanded to include shoulder ballast cleaners, ditch cleaners, tie handling machines, and rail grinders. In the early 1980's Loram emerged as the North American leader in the technology for both shoulder ballast cleaning and rail grinding. Today, Loram Maintenance of Way is recognized as one of the premier firms in the North American railway track maintenance industry.