Watco Hits Snag in Reopening W.Va. Secondary

Resuming operations on the West Virginia Secondary in Ohio by the Kanawha River Railroad is being delayed as it awaits a ruling from the U.S. Surface Transportation Board.

The issue is the failure of the STB to publish a complete description of the authority of the KRR to operate over 9.2 miles of CSX-owned track.

WatcoThe CSX portion of the West Virginia Secondary extends from Hobson Yard in Langsville, Ohio, to Conco, which is located on the Ohio side of the Ohio River bridge.

An attorney representing Watco Companies, which owns the KRR, said the trackage rights on CSX were excluded from the copy of the filing submitted to the STB by Watco and Norfolk Southern, which owned the West Virginia Secondary, and published in the Federal Register.

The attorney said the trackage rights were implied in the filing and the STB has not explicitly ruled them out.

However, CSX won’t allow the KRR to exercise the trackage rights until the STB states that they are included in the transfer of operating authority from NS to Watco. The STB is expected to provide that clarification soon.

Watco took over most of the 298-mile West Virginia Secondary from NS and has been operating the route in West Virginia since July 31.

Until taking the line out of service earlier this year, NS had been providing local service on the route. The filing with the STB indicated that NS saw coal traffic on the West Virginia Secondary decline by 57 percent between 2011 and 2014.

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