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Rail News: M&A

Watco to lease KCS lines, launch three small roads


On the hunt for additional short-line properties the past few years, The Watco Cos. Inc. has bagged a few more. Yesterday, Watco and the Kansas City Southern Railway Co. (KCSR) announced the holding company will lease five of the Class I’s branch lines and create three new short lines to operate the lines.

Watco will lease KCSR’s Waldron Branch between Heavener, Okla., and Waldron, Ark.; Nashville Branch between Ashdown and Nashville, Ark.; Hodge Subdivision between Gibsland and Pineville Junction, La.; Minden Branch between Springhill, Hinkle, Minden and Sibley, La.; and Tuscaloosa Branch between Columbus, Miss., and Tuscaloosa, Fox, Brookwood Junction and Brookwood, Ala.

“With the execution of these leases, KCSR will free up resources to focus its energies on our core lines for the movement of NAFTA traffic,” said KCSR President and Chief Executive Officer Art Shoener in a prepared statement.

In September, Watco will launch the Louisiana Southern Railroad to begin operating the two lines in that state; by early November, the company will start up the Arkansas Southern and Alabama Southern railroads to begin operating the remaining lines.

“We are committed to continue delivering quality rail service to our new customers, KCSR and the communities served by our three new railroads,” said Watco President and Chief Operating Officer Terry Towner.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 7/21/2005