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Watco inaugurates short line in Alabama

On April 9, Watco Transportation Services L.L.C. launched the Autauga Northern Railroad (AUT), the short-line holding company’s third railroad in Alabama and 23rd subsidiary railroad overall.
Per an agreement signed with Norfolk Southern Railway, Watco holds a 20-year lease and a 10-year renewal option to operate 43.6 miles of track between Maplesville and Autauga Creek, Ala. Watco formed AUT to operate the line; service will be provided six days per week. Carloads moved on the line total about 9,000 annually.

Watco has provided contract switching services in in Prattville, Ala., for International Paper — AUT’s major customer — for more than 20 years.
“This is an … opportunity to expand important relationships with our customers,” said Stefan Loeb, Watco’s vice president of business development, in a prepared statement.

Watco plans to spend $2.4 million in AUT’s first year of operation to upgrade track to Class II standards (25 mph), including $1.8 million on tie replacements, $443,000 on new ballast and $150,000 on bridge repairs.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 4/12/2011