STB Grants approval for Watco acquisitions in Wisconsin and Michigan

Written by David C. Lester, Editor-in-Chief

The Surface Transportation Board issued a decision granting approval for exemptions sought by Watco Holdings, Inc., and two of its subsidiaries (collectively, Watco) in the acquisition of approximately 652 miles of rail line in Wisconsin and Michigan from Wisconsin Central Ltd. (WCL), which is controlled by Canadian National Railway Company.

On April 5, 2021, Watco filed for a series of exemptions to acquire the rail lines.  The Board received numerous comments supporting the transactions and numerous comments opposing it.  After careful consideration of all comments received, the Board finds that the issues raised do not demonstrate regulation is necessary to carry out the rail transportation policy and that it is appropriate to allow Watco to proceed with the exemption process.

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The decision in Grand Elk Railroad, Inc.—Acquisition Exemption—Lines of Wisconsin Central Ltd. In the State of Michigan, Docket No. FD 36503, Fox Valley & Lake Superior Rail System, L.L.C.—Acquisition and Operation Exemption—Lines of Wisconsin Central Ltd. in the State of Wisconsin, Docket  No. FD 36504, Watco Holdings, Inc.—Exemption for Intra-Corporate Family Transaction—Fox Valley & Lake Superior Rail System, L.L.C. and Wisconsin & Southern Railroad, L.L.C., Docket No. FD 36505, Watco Holdings, Inc.—Continuance in Control Exemption—Fox Valley & Lake Superior Rail System, L.L.C., Docket No. FD 36506, may be viewed and downloaded here.

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