Coal goal: DM&E submits application to build line (March 1998)


The Dakota, Minnesota & Eastern Railroad Corp. has committed its Powder River Basins plan to paper.

On Feb. 20, the 1,100-mile DM&E filed an application with the Surface Transportation Board seeking authority to construct about 280 miles of new railroad line in southwestern South Dakota and northeastern Wyoming to the coal-rich Powder River Basin for movement to Midwest-based electric utilities. 

The Brookings, S.D.-based regional railroad also asked the STB to establish a procedural schedule for the application review.

“We’ve asked for 300 days,” or until mid-December, says Lynn Anderson, DM&E’s vice president of marketing, strategic planning and public affairs. 

If approved, the project would be completed in three phases:

• construction of a $1.2 billion, 250-mile line, plus an upgrade of 600 miles of DM&E’s existing mainline from western South Dakota to the Mississippi;

• a $65 million upgrade of 220 additional DM&E system miles; 

• and a $200 million capacity improvement effort including work on passing tracks and yard facilities.

DM&E, which would become a Class I railroad if the project is completed, is working with Morgan Stanley & Co. Inc. and Lombard Investments Inc. to complete the selection of “strategic partners” to help finance the ambitious project. Potential partners include utilities, coal producers, power marketers, pipeline companies and railroads.

— Pat Foran, managing editor

Source: The March 1998 issue of Progressive Railroading