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Rail News: Short Lines & Regionals

STB rejects Wisconsin legislators' petition to delay the sale of WSOR to Watco


On Jan. 5, the Surface Transportation Board (STB) issued a decision that denied five Wisconsin politicians’ request to stay the effective date of Watco Cos. L.L.C.’s exemption to assume control of the Wisconsin & Southern Railroad Co. (WSOR).

In November, Watco reached an agreement with WSOR to acquire controlling ownership of the 600-mile regional. Watco’s exemption for control took effect on Dec. 29.

Wisconsin Reps. Brett Hulsey, Louis Molepske, Kelda Helen Roys, Fred Clark and Terese Berceau had sought a 60-day delay in the sale’s effective date so state legislators and the public would have more time to explore several issues, such as whether the transaction would hurt local farmers, manufacturers and rail shippers, and whether Watco executives were willing to work with state and local officials to improve freight-rail and restore passenger-rail service to many parts of Wisconsin.

The state representatives’ request was submitted one day prior to the exemption’s effective date, providing the board “insufficient time to review and rule on the request,” STB members said in their decision.

“Because the stay request was untimely and the exemption is already in effect, the request will be denied,” they wrote. “Although the exemption is in effect, recourse remains available to any interested person through a petition to revoke the exemption.”

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 1/10/2012