Posts Tagged ‘Wisconsin Central’

CN Wants STB to Move on Line Sales

October 12, 2021

Canadian National wants the U.S. Surface Transportation Board to allow it to complete its sale of various line in Michigan and Wisconsin before winter.

CN has proposed selling nearly 500 miles of the former Wisconsin Central to short line operator Watco.

The sale has been on hold since April after shippers, shipper groups and some elected officials expressed concerns about the sale.

Most of the lines are in Wisconsin but a few serve Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

An attorney for CN last week asked regulators to act on the sale, saying the railroads  “desire to complete the proposed line sale transactions prior to the onset of winter and snowfall that could disrupt the efficient start-up of Watco operations.”

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.