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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

STB clears path for Portland & Western to lease BNSF line


On Dec. 31, Surface Transportation Board denied an appeal and two petitions seeking a stay of Portland & Western Railroad Inc.'s (P&WR) exemption from regulation regarding the short line's plan to lease from Burlington Northern Santa Fe and operate a 76.75-mile Salem-to-Eugene, Ore., line.
As part of a 15-year lease agreement reached in late October between BNSF and P&WR owner Genesee & Wyoming Inc. (GWI), P&WR planned to grant overhead trackage rights to BNSF between Bush and Albany, and to Central Oregon & Pacific Railroad Inc. (CORP), between Albany and Eugene.
On Dec. 23, the 220-mile short line withdrew its request from STB to grant trackage rights to CORP.
STB ruled that the transaction would not cause immediate and irreparable harm to petitioners nor adversely affect the environment or community safety.
P&WR and BNSF planned to close the deal Dec. 31, STB said.
The short line plans to use the line to move about 20,000 annual carloads, including paper, lumber and agricultural products.
By 2006, GWI and BNSF plan to upgrade about 20 miles of the line south of Salem by installing heavier rail, which would enable P&WR to increase train speed, reduce car-cycle times and improve service. BNSF would provide the rail; GWI, other project materials.

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More News from 1/3/2003