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10/13/2003



Rail News: M&A

Wheeling & Lake Erie to acquire CSXT's operating easement on Ohio line


On Oct. 8, Surface Transportation Board granted Wheeling & Lake Erie Railway Co. (W&LE) an exemption to acquire CSX Transportation's freight operating easement on a 17.8-mile line between Canton and Krumroy, Ohio. The exemption is effective Nov. 9.

The line — comprising a southern segment from Canton to Aultman, and middle segment from Aultman to Krumroy — is owned by Metro Regional Transit Authority (METRO).

In 1992, W&LE leased the southern segment from CSXT. In 2000, the Class I sold the southern and middle segments, and a third portion from Krumroy to Akron, to METRO.

CSXT retained an exclusive freight easement over all three segments — subject to W&LE's pre-existing southern-segment lease — and agreed to transfer the freight easement over the southern and middle segments to METRO. The authority previously agreed to provide W&LE the freight easement over the southern and middle segments.

In July, W&LE and CSXT reached an agreement under which the 680-mile regional would acquire the Class I's easement over the two segments. W&LE has no current plans to provide service over the middle segment, over which CSXT discontinued service in 1993.

W&LE currently provides service on the Canton-to-Aultman segment two days per week to serve four shippers, which annually move a total of 340 carloads of clay, synthetic rubber, lumber and plastics.



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