Helena-West Helena's newcomer to its business and industry community is celebrating the loading of its first railroad tank car that is scheduled to be shipped to a new customer by the end of this week. Arkansas-Solfuels, USA recently began production at its new facility.

Helena-West Helena's newcomer to its business and industry community is celebrating the loading of its first railroad tank car that is scheduled to be shipped to a new customer by the end of this week. Arkansas-Solfuels, USA recently began production at its new facility.

Solfuels is a 40 million gallons per year plant served by the Arkansas Midland Railroad. The railroad connects with the Class 1 Union Pacific Railroad in Lexa.

“The first railroad loaded will be heading to Phoenix, Arizona,” said Henri Bardon, Solfuels CEO. “I am truly excited about this development and I am looking forward to more shipments by rail.”

Bardon is now working with John Edwards, general counsel and economic development director of Helena Harbor, to promote increasing the rail weight limits on the line serving Helena.

“After years of stagnation, rail use is back on the upswing in Helena,” commented Edwards. “We must plan now to have the capacity to handle more and heavier traffic in the future. It is a good problem to have.”

Edwards noted what a good corporate citizen Solfuels has become in a very short period of time.

“Mr. Bardon has hired 16 people at the Helena plant and four at its commercial sales office in Memphis, Tennessee, which is making a positive impact on the community,” he said.

Edwards added, “They are a new sponsor for the King Biscuit Blues Festival, which starts next week and is the largest community event of the year. They have really stepped up in their first year here.”

“Solfuels is very pleased to be a part of the community and look forward to future growth,” stated Bardon. “This community has been very supportive to us.”