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Rail News: Short Lines & Regionals

Watco to acquire Ann Arbor Railroad; San Pedro & Southwestern sets safety record


Watco Cos. L.L.C. subsidiary Watco Railroad Co. Holdings Inc. recently reached an agreement to purchase the stock of Ann Arbor Railroad Inc.

The transaction will close into a voting trust, the trustee of which will control the railroad until the Surface Transportation Board approves the transaction. A board decision is anticipated in late January or early February.

The 50-mile Ann Arbor Railroad serves customers in southeastern Michigan and Toledo, Ohio. The short line operates automotive terminals in the Toledo area focused on loading vehicles for Chrysler, General Motors and Ford, and interchanges with CN, CSX Transportation, Norfolk Southern Railway, Great Lakes Central Railroad, the Indiana & Ohio Railway and Wheeling & Lake Erie Railway Co.

"This acquisition expands our rail network in the state of Michigan and allows us to build stronger relationships with our customers, while also giving Watco the opportunity to serve the state of Ohio and its important industrial base," said Watco Cos. Chief Commercial Officer Ed McKechnie in a prepared statement.

Watco currently owns and operates 29 short lines controlling more than 4,500 miles of track. The company also operates 27 industrial contract switching locations, 16 rail-car repair shops, 23 railroad repair shops, eight locomotive shops and four private rail-car shops.

Meanwhile, the San Pedro & Southwestern Railroad (SPSR) set a new safety record Dec. 23 by reaching 5,000 days of accident-free operations.

Based in Benson, Ariz., and owned by ARG Trans, SPSR serves regional businesses in Cochise County and interchanges with Union Pacific Railroad. ARG Trans, which acquired SPSR in November 2003 from RailAmerica Inc., also operates the 133-mile Coos Bay Rail Link in Coos Bay, Ore.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 1/2/2013