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Rail News Home Short Lines & Regionals

November 2007



Rail News: Short Lines & Regionals

Genesee & Wyoming to acquire major stake in Maryland Midland



Genesee & Wyoming Inc. (GWI) soon will add another short line to its holdings. Last month, the company reached an agreement with Maryland Midland Railway Inc. to acquire an 87.4 percent stake in the 63-mile short line for $29.1 million.

Expected to close in the fourth quarter, the transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including Maryland Midland stockholder approval. GWI already has secured enough shareholder voting agreements to approve the deal, according to the company, which owns regionals and short lines in the United States, Canada and Australia, and
retains a minority interest in a Bolivian railroad.

Lehigh Cement, Maryland Midland’s biggest customer and largest shareholder, plans to retain its 12.6 percent stake in the short line.

Maryland Midland operates lines between Glyndon and Highfield, and Walkersville and Taneytown, Md., and interchanges with CSX Transportation. The short line is located about 40 miles from GWI’s York Railway Co. in southeastern Pennsylvania.

“The Maryland Midland is a good geographic fit with our York operations,” said GWI Chief Executive Officer John Hellmann in a prepared statement. “This proximity lends

itself to efficiencies that make the financial combination attractive.”

Wrapping up rail replacement
Wisconsin & Southern to install CWR by month’s end on Fox Lake Subdivision line so trains can boost speed

Wisconsin & Southern Railroad Co. (WSOR) trains heading to Chicago soon will be moving a tad faster and carrying heavier freight cars.

This month, the 700-mile regional expects to complete a rail replacement project between Avalon and Walworth, Wis., that will enable the railroad to remove numerous slow orders, increase train speed to 25 mph or more and accommodate 286,000-pound cars.

Crews are installing 14 miles of 115-pound continuous-welded rail (CWR) on the line in the Fox Lake Subdivision, which handles more than 65,000 cars and about 6 million tons of freight annually.

The line is part of WSOR’s mainline corridor from Wisconsin to the Belt Railway Co. of Chicago’s Clearing Yard in Bedford Park, Ill., where WSOR interchanges most of its Chicago traffic with the Class Is. The regional provides daily train service between Janesville, Wis., and Chicago.

The rail replacement is the last phase of a larger project that included replacing more than 20,000 wood ties, reconstructing 12 grade crossings and upgrading six bridges.

WSOR will spend about $5.8 million this year on maintenance-of-way (MOW) projects. The regional spent $4.2 million last year on MOW.

Hudson Bay, Canadian governments to fund Manitoba line upgrades

Last month, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced the federal government and province of Manitoba will jointly provide $40 million to help fund upgrades to the Hudson Bay Railway Co.’s line between The Pas and Churchill, Manitoba.

OmniTRAX Inc. — which owns the 810-mile short line — agreed to provide $20 million for the line improvements. The track upgrades will help prevent derailments and maintenance disruptions on the line, which also is used by VIA Rail Canada Inc.

 
Massachusetts Coastal Railroad to operate state-owned lines

The Massachusetts Executive Office of Transportation and Public Works last month awarded a 10-year contract to Massachusetts Coastal Railroad L.L.C. to operate state-owned freight-rail lines totaling 60 miles.

The contract includes options to extend the operating contract beyond 2018.

On Jan. 1, the railroad will begin operating the lines, which include a Middleboro-to-Hyannis segment; branches to Yarmouth and Falmouth; and routes into Taunton, North Dartmouth and Westport.



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