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The Columbiana County Port Authority has sold the Youngstown & Southern Railroad's assets to Mule Sidetracks L.L.C. for $3 million.An affiliate of MarkWest Energy Partners L.P., Mule Sidetracks acquired all rail, ties, ballast, and rights of way (ROW) associated with the 36.8-mile short line, which operates between Youngstown and Darlington, Ohio. The port authority — which acquired the short line more than 10 years ago — retained the mineral rights along the ROW.Mule Sidetracks plans to maintain rail service on the line, pursuant to an operating lease with the Youngstown & Southeastern Railroad.Meanwhile, the city of Jackson, Ohio, on Jan. 31 transferred operations of its 70-mile short line from U S Rail Corp. to the Indiana Eastern Railroad. The city owns 70 miles of track and has maintained a short-line operation since the mid-1980s.Last year, the city approved a 25-year contract with the Indiana Eastern Railroad through which the short line will assume operations when the transfer was completed. The city needed to complete the transfer by April 30, when its lease with U S Rail expired. U S Rail notified city officials in November 2012 that it planned to terminate the lease when it expired.Indiana Eastern Railroad has named the Jackson operations the Ohio South-Central Rail Line. Launched in 2005, Indiana Eastern Railroad operates 43 miles of track in Indiana and Ohio.
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