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Watco to buy control of Wisconsin & Southern

Published: November 29, 2011
wsor
Wisconsin & Southern's Horicon-Janesville, Wis., road freight passes Lima Center, Wis. Watco is acquiring a majority interest in the Milwaukee-based regional.
Photo by Andy Cummings
PITTSBURG, Kan. — Shortline conglomerate Watco Cos. has announced it will buy a majority interest in Milwaukee-based regional Wisconsin & Southern Railroad Co. Current W&S President William Gardner will remain president even as he relinquishes control of the line.
 
Watco said it plans to expand W&S’s footprint while seeking out new markets and more cost-effective routings for the railroad’s customers. No current Watco lines connect to W&S’s network.
 
Wisconsin & Southern operates more than 700 miles of track in southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois, most of it under agreements with the state of Wisconsin. Under the deal, all current agreements for track use will continue. W&S’s corporate structure will remain the same, and its Milwaukee headquarters will remain home to the railroad’s dispatching, customer service, and other administrative functions.
 
Watco filed to acquire W&S at the Surface Transportation Board today, and plans to close on Jan. 1, 2012.
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PRESTON CLARK from NORTH CAROLINA said:
BRUCE DUENSING, you hit the nail on the head with your comments. It's a terrible shame to loose the W&S as it currently is run. It's was one of the few railroads left in our nation with that "local flavor" and for it to be so railfan friendly was such a bonus. Even living in North Carolina, I always admired W&S from afar. I'm currently reading the book "The WSOR Story - 30th Anniversary" book so it's particularly saddening to see this change now occur. I always figured a Class I railroad would come along at some point and scoop up the WSOR.
BOB LILLY from WISCONSIN said:
Bill,

What r u going to do with your passenger trainset?

Need an Engineer?

Good Luck in your new position.
GEORGE HARTSELL from GEORGIA said:
I hope, for the sake of the WSOR employees and customers they serve, that WATCO will have a greater success at running the operation than it did with the Appalachian & Ohio in West Virginia. They gave many excuses as to why they were not successful, but imho I think they were inexperienced in running a railroad with the amount and type of traffic the A&O handled, as well as not having experience in what it would require of them to run a mountain railroad. Four Rivers Transportation has done an excellent job since taking over the operation in May 2006.
ROBERT MARSHALL from WISCONSIN said:
Thank you, William, for your inaccurate characterization of our citizenry.
ROBERT FISHER from WISCONSIN said:
Mr. Bates: It is interesting that the railroad told you in advance that they would sic cops on you for taking pictures, and you preemepted them by doing it yourself. Good for you. I would have gone and stood right along the track (as close as i could not being on their property) and snapped photos all day long!!!
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