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Washington state DOT selects short-line operators
The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) expected to complete its purchase the Palouse River & Coulee City Railroad (PCC) from the Watco Cos. Inc. by May’s end. So, the agency lined up operators for two of PCC’s three branch lines earlier in the month.
WSDOT selected US Rail Partners Ltd. to operate the “CW” line between Coulee City and Spokane, and the Washington and Idaho Railway Inc. to operate the “P&L” line between Marshall and Pullman. The companies expected to assume operations in mid-June pending operating agreements.
US Rail Partners plans to operate the CW line under the name Eastern Washington Gateway Railroad. Affiliated with the BG & CM Railroad operating in Idaho, the Washington and Idaho Railway currently operates the P&L line under a sublease from Watco, which will continue to operate the “PV Hooper” line between Thornton and Pullman per an existing operating agreement with WSDOT.
Meanwhile, Watco’s Kaw River Railroad (KAW) last month completed its fourth track lease transaction in as many years. The short line leased 14.6 miles of industrial track in the Bedford Industrial Park in North Kansas City, Mo., from BNSF Railway Co.
Owner of 16 short lines operating in 14 states, Watco formed KAW in 2004 to operate a 12-mile Kansas City-area line leased from Kansas City Southern. In 2005, KAW leased 16 track miles between Kearney and Birmingham, Mo., from BNSF, and last year, the short line leased K.C.-area track from the Kansas City Transportation Co. L.L.C.
Last month, Florida East Coast Railway (FECR) reached a service performance milestone for United Parcel Service. The 351-mile regional marked 700-straight days without missing a transit-time commitment.
The failure-free service streak sets a new record for any transportation firm serving UPS, according to FECR. The railroad established its previous high-water mark of 698 days in 2005.
During the nearly two-year period, the regional handled more than 62,000 intermodal loads for UPS and met every transit-time commitment. The regional’s service performance helped UPS deliver more than 95 million packages on time, according to the shipper.
“We rely on partners like FECR to provide great customer service despite the daily challenges they may face,” said UPS Vice President of Transportation Randy Welch in a prepared statement.
FECR’s Intermodal Division also serves other parcel, intermodal marketing and less-than-truckload companies, and truckload and ocean carriers.
“We [plan] to further penetrate the retail truckload market between the Southeast U.S. and south Florida, and help potential customers understand the cost benefits of incorporating the railway into their distribution networks,” said FECR Assisstant VP of Intermodal Marketing David MacInnes.