DANVILLE – A company that at one time was among the 25 largest local employers has sold its local rail car facility.

The Andersons, Inc. announced this week it signed an agreement to buy FreightCar America’s Danville rail car facility on Cannon Street.

The company intends to turn the former freight car manufacturing plant into a full-service freight and tank rail car repair shop, according to a press release from The Andersons.

Vermilion Advantage President and CEO Vicki Haugen said FreightCar idled in May 2017.

“So it is a real blessing that such an old and specialized facility has sold to such a great and reputable company this quickly,” Haugen said through an email.

Haugen said she’s not had direct contact with The Andersons yet, so she doesn’t know total investment or anticipated jobs.

“I believe the acquisition is a win for all involved and we look forward to welcoming The Anderson Rail Group into Vermilion County,” she said.

The 308,000 square-foot Danville facility is situated along the CSX Transportation network and can store up to 400 rail cars.

“From the facility, The Andersons Rail Group will provide a wide range of services, including rail car repair, painting, blasting, cleaning, tank car certification and scrapping. Danville will be the rail group’s 21st shop in the U.S., strategically located in the high-volume Midwest rail transportation corridor,” according to the press release.

“We are excited to add the Danville facility to our repair network,” said Sam Anderson, vice president of operations with The Andersons Rail Group, in the press release. “The purchase helps support our strategy of providing quality repairs and outstanding service to rail shippers, railroads, and rail car leasing companies across the U.S.”

The purchase is expected to close this month. The Andersons expect the repair shop to be operational in the fourth quarter of 2018.

The Andersons, Inc. was founded in Maumee, Ohio, in 1947. The Andersons is rooted in agriculture conducting business across North America in the grain, ethanol, plant nutrient and rail sectors.

The Andersons Rail Group provides a variety of services to the rail industry. It repairs, sells, manages and leases a fleet of nearly 23,000 various types of rail cars and locomotives. The group has 24 rail car repair facilities across the country. It also offers fleet management services to private rail car owners and operates a custom steel fabrication business, according to the company.

FreightCar America, Inc., headquartered in Chicago, manufactured railroad freight cars and had one of its manufacturing facilities in Danville.

According to a FrieghtCar America report, the company entered into an agreement to sell the Danville production facility for $2.2 million.