Watco adds third railroad in a week

RELATED TOPICS: SHORT LINES AND REGIONALS
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PITTSBURG, Kan. — Watco has reached a deal to acquire Birmingham Southern Railroad from U.S. Steel Corp.’s Transtar subsidiary. It’s the third acquisition the Pittsburg-based railroad has announced this week.
 
Birmingham Southern serves more than 20 customers in the Birmingham metro area, including U.S. Steel’s Fairfield Works. It interchanges directly with CSX, Norfolk Southern, and BNSF Railway, and serves a barge terminal on the Black Warrior River. Watco has created a subsidiary, the Birmingham Terminal Railway, to operate the line.
 
The railroad was constructed starting in 1878, and operated for a time as a joint Louisville & Nashville-Southern Railway subsidiary. U.S. Steel acquired the line in 1907.
 
Stefan Loeb, Watco’s vice president of business development, says that while U.S. Steel will remain the short line’s biggest customer, it hopes to develop traffic from smaller shippers.
 
Earlier this week, Watco announced it would acquire a 90 percent stake in Wisconsin & Southern Railroad Co., and launched the Swan Ranch Railroad to serve an industrial park in Cheyenne, Wyo.
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