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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

KCS estimates reopening of KCSM Nuevo Laredo Gateway

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Kansas City Southern said that its Mexican subsidiary, Kansas City Southern de Mexico, S.A. de C.V. estimates that, if there are no new complications, its Nuevo Laredo gateway will be reopened for service sometime the weekend of July24-25 with the Anahuac Bridge repairs under way and expected to be in service by then. With the anticipated restoration of service, all current service embargoes imposed on July 3 are expected to be lifted early the week of July 25.

"I have just completed my third inspection of the area and am pleased to report that very significant progress has been made," said David L. Starling, KCS president and chief operating officer from Mexico. "As a result, we anticipate, if there are no further unforeseen complications, the Anahuac Bridge will reopen sometime this weekend and that we can restore service to the KCSM Nuevo Laredo gateway at that time. As a result, we plan to lift all current service embargoes imposed on July 3 early next week.

Divers were at the Anahuac Bridge to inspect the bridge's piers under the water line. After their inspection, no pier damage was found and a missing beam was located and will be reused in the bridge repairs that are under way. Reopening of the Anahuac Bridge will allow the Nuevo Laredo Gateway and the main line to Saltillo to reopen.

A secondary route being used to divert some limited cross border traffic is KCSM's Matamoros to Monterrey "F" line. That line has reopened and traffic is moving at reduced speeds. Ballast and large rock has been added to segments of that line washed out over the weekend, allowing restored service to this line on a restricted basis.

The "F" line was closed on July 16 for 12 hours as local authorities in Reynosa prepared for flooding anticipated by the release of water from the nearby Falcon Dam upstream from Reynosa. On Saturday, July 17, the International Boundary and Water Commission had to open floodgates at the Falcon Dam where the water level was at 128 percent of capacity. As a result, the Rio Bravo/Rio Grande and Salado rivers overflowed and washed out track at two locations near Reynosa on July 17.

KCSM continues to monitor water levels in various areas around the "F" line and is hopeful that they will continue to recede over the coming days. However, periods of rainfall are expected over the next couple days so this situation remains day to day for the time being.

Rail service in northern Mexico has been disrupted for all carriers as a result of Hurricane Alex, which made landfall in northeast Mexico on June 30. Highway infrastructure throughout northern Mexico also was severely damaged. The hurricane caused significant track damage around the Monterrey and Saltillo areas, as well as on the lines to Nuevo Laredo and Matamoros.

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