Posts Tagged ‘rail line sales’

North Judson Completes Rail Line Sale

May 6, 2021

An Indiana city has completed the sale of a short line railroad to Midwest & Bluegrass Rail.

The short line hold company purchased the 33-mile line, which North Judson had owned for 17 years.

The town had purchased the former Chesapeake & Ohio line years earlier when CSX sought to abandon it.

The town council and redevelopment commission approved creation of a redevelopment commission fund to handle the money resulting from the sale.

M&B subsidiary Cheaspeake & Indiana was already the line’s freight operator. A tourist train operation also uses a portion of the line

The winning bid of $2.725 million was the highest of three submitted.

CN Sues STB Over Line Sale Stipulation

April 29, 2021

Canadian National has gone to court to overturn a U.S. Surface Transportation Board edict in its proposed purchase of a CSX line.

The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, seeks to set aside some conditions the STB imposed when it approved the sale.

CN argues that the STB is required to approve a line sale unless the competitive harm of the transaction outweighs its benefits.

The transaction in question is 263.3 miles of the CSX Massena line between Syracuse, New York, and Montreal.

CN has proposed acquiring the track through its U.S. subsidiary Bessemer & Lake Erie

In approving the sale, the STB made it contingent upon the railroads removing a clause that would forever prohibit CN from seeking to interchange traffic with short lines Finger Lakes Railway and New York, Susquehanna & Western in the Syracuse area.

After CN and CSX were unable to come to terms with that stipulation, they asked the STB to reconsider its decision.

But the board refused and the line sale has been in limbo since late February.

STB Delays Watco Purchase of CN Lines

April 28, 2021

The U.S. Surface Transportation Board has put the brakes on a move by short line holding company Watco to acquire Canadian National trackage in Wisconsin and Michigan.

The board said it was responding to concerns that some shippers, shipper associations, and a Wisconsin congressman have raised about the transaction.

CN plans to sell to Watco 650 miles of light density branches that once belonged to the Wisconsin Central.

Watco had said it wanted to begin operating the lines on June 30.

Shippers Withdraw Objections to Watco Purchase of CN Lines in Wisconsin, Michigan

April 27, 2021

Objections to the acquisition by a short line holding company of Canadian National lines in Wisconsin and Michigan have been dropped.

The Wisconsin Central Group and the Lake States Shippers Association dropped their challenge after meeting with officials from Watco, which plans to buy 650 miles of CN track.

The shipper groups notified the U.S. Surface Transportation Board of their new position in a filing with the board.

The filing indicated that Watco has addressed the concerns of the shippers, including that Watco would be subject to the same conditions the STB imposed on CN as part of its 2001 purchase of Wisconsin Central.

The shippers now support Watco’s acquisition of the CN lines.

Watco hopes to begin operations on the lines in question on June 30.

Shippers Express Support for Watco Acquisition of CN Lines in Michigan, Wisconsin

April 17, 2021

Even as some shippers are raising concerns others have expressed support for the sale by Canadian National of several lines in Wisconsin and the upper peninsula of Michigan.

The lines, many of which were once operated by Wisconsin Central, are being acquired by short line operator Watco.

The transaction involves 650 miles of what CN described as light density routes. Watco hopes to begin operating the routes on June. 30.

A major shipper group, a current shipper, railroad associations in Wisconsin and Michigan, a county economic development agency, and a Wisconsin business group are urging the U.S. Surface Transportation board to approve the deal.

“Access to reliable rail service is critically important to the viability of our agriculture, timber, and manufacturing sectors in the states of Wisconsin and Michigan. Having a company like Watco operating these important branch line segments is a great move towards the future of rail transportation in these regions,” wrote Kurt Bauer, who leads Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, the state’s chamber of commerce and largest business association.

Rail consultant William Schauer, a former vice president of marketing at Wisconsin Central, wrote in a letter to the STB that “the Wisconsin Central is gone and will not be coming back.”

He said the former WC main line remains vital to CN as a link between Western Canada and Chicago.

Watco to buy CN Branch Lines

March 31, 2021

Short line operator Watco will buy 650 miles of branch line track in Michigan, Wisconsin and Ontario from Canadian National.

Watco will also begin operating the Agawa Canyon Train, which will use 250 miles of track the short line company is buying between Sault Ste. Marie and Oba, Ontario.

It has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Missanabie Cree First Nation regarding forming a partnership to operate the Algoma Central Railway.

The Agawa Canyon Train offers one-day excursions over 114 miles north of Sault St. Marie.

Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. CN had been offering the affected line for sale since last July.

In the United States Watco is purchasing lines now operated by CN affiliate Wisconsin Central.

The acquisitions in the U.S. must be approved by the Surface Transportation Board approval.