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Regional Rail LLC, a short-line operator acquired by 3i Group plc last year, has agreed to acquire Carolina Coastal Railway Inc., company officials announced today.The Carolina Coastal operates 180 miles of track in North and South Carolina. The acquisition is subject to the Surface Transportation Board's approval, 3i and Regional Rail officials said in a press release.Carolina Coastal provides freight transportation and car-storage services to more than 45 blue-chip customers operating across a variety of end markets that include aggregates, food, agriculture, chemicals and metals primarily in eastern North Carolina."Carolina Coastal is a great fit with Regional Rail as it benefits from an attractive mix of industrial customers and further diversifies our existing freight-rail platform from an end-market and geographic perspective," said Al Sauer, chief executive officer of Regional Rail. "We look forward to welcoming all of the Carolina Coastal employees to Regional Rail and working with them to continue the company’s successful growth.”Carolina Coastal President Doug Golden said he had been looking for the "right partner" to continue the railroad's service."I have known Al [Sauer] for many years," Golden said. "He and his team have been great to work with on this transaction, and I believe they will be good partners in supporting our employees, customers and all future developments."