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.