STB approves CP purchase of Central Maine & Quebec

News Wire Digest for May 5: MTA releases more details on subway shutdown; CP sets record for grain traffic
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Tuesday rail news:

— The U.S. Surface Transportation Board on Monday approved Canadian Pacific’s purchase of the Central Maine & Quebec, effective June 18. Canadian regulators had already approved the purchase of trackage in Canada. The STB approval of the purchase — officially by CP’s U.S. subsidiary, Soo Line Corp. — denied a request by the Springfield Terminal Railway, the operating unit of Pan Am Railways, for trackage rights over 43 miles between Northern Maine Junction and Brownville, Me., while imposing conditions protecting current employees. The full decision regarding the approval can be downloaded at the STB website.

— The Metropolitan Transportation Authority has released more details on its plan to close New York’s subway system nightly beginning May 6 to allow for more thorough cleaning to combat the coronavirus pandemic. An MTA press release says all 472 subway stations will be closed as of 1 a.m., with New York and MTA police working to ensure the stations are clear, and the MTA working with police to connect homeless individuals “with access to the medical care and social services they need and deserve.” Some trains will continue to operate during the closure from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m., transporting workers performing maintenance-of-way functions as well as cleaning crews. Cars well be cleaned during the day when they reach terminal stations, overnights in yards, and overnights at terminals, using antimicrobial products which create a barrier to prevent germs from growing on surfaces and ultraviolet light as well as disinfectants. Bus service will also be increased between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. and will be fare-free during this period, and the MTA will cross-honor fares on the Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North. For those who cannot complete trips using buses, an “essential connector” program using for-hire vehicles will operate during the subway closure. For more information, see the MTA release.

— Canadian Pacific says it moved a record 2.8 million metric tons of grain in Canada in April, bettering the previous mark set in November 2019 by 100,000 tons. CP efforts have been aided by the arrival of more than 2,500 new grain hoppers from what eventually will be a fleet of 5,900 new cars. Those cars carry 10% more grain by weight and 15% more by volume, or more than 1.1 metric tons per car.

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