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Watco to acquire Birmingham Southern Railway's assets


Two days after announcing an agreement to acquire a controlling interest in Wisconsin & Southern Railroad Co. and plans to launch a new short line in Wyoming, Watco Transportation Services L.L.C. hailed another acquisition. On Dec. 1, the company announced its Birmingham Terminal Railway (BHRR) subsidiary reached an agreement to purchase the assets of Birmingham Southern Railway (BSRR).

BHRR plans to file the necessary paperwork with the Surface Transportation Board later this month. The short line could begin operating BSRR as early as Feb. 1, 2012, Watco officials said in a prepared statement. BHRR will be led by Rodney Gordon, who currently serves as general manager of Watco’s Grand Elk Railroad in Michigan.

The 75-mile BSRR serves Alabama’s largest steel-making and manufacturing region, and provides service to the Port of Birmingham and a rail-to-barge/barge-to-rail facility on the Black Warrior River. The short line interchanges with BNSF Railway Co., CSX Transportation and Norfolk Southern Railway.

“This acquisition fits nicely with our continued business expansion in Alabama,” said Watco Chief Commercial Officer Ed McKechnie. “Birmingham Terminal will join our Alabama Warrior Railway, Autauga Northern Railroad and the Alabama Southern Railroad that operate in Alabama. Combined, these four railroads will move more than 100,000 rail cars a year.”

Watco currently owns 23 short lines in the United States. The company also operates 23 industrial contract switching facilities, 14 rail-car repair shops, four locomotive shops and 19 mobile mechanical shops, and provides transloading, warehousing, intermodal and other services.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 12/5/2011