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Rail News: M&A

Watco to launch second short line in Big Sky Country


Later this month, The Watco Cos. Inc. expects to complete another lease transaction with BNSF Railway Co. in Montana and launch a second short line in the state.

Watco plans to lease two lines totaling 172 track miles between Glendive and Snowden, and Bainville and Scobey. The short-line holding company also would obtain overhead trackage rights to 28.2 track miles in BNSF’s Sidney and Scobey subdivisions.

Watco will establish Yellowstone Valley Railroad Inc. to operate the lines. The company has filed an exemption notice with the Surface Transportation Board to obtain federal approval for the transaction.

In late 2004, Watco leased two Montana lines totaling 40 track miles from BNSF and launched the Mission Mountain Railroad as operator. A northern line runs between Eureka and Stryker; the southern line runs between Columbia Falls and Kalispell. Mission Mountain interchanges with BNSF in Stryker and Columbia Falls.

Owner of 12 short lines operating in 19 states, Watco also plans soon to lease five Kansas City Southern Railway Co branch lines in Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama and establish three new short lines to operate the lines.

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More News from 8/8/2005