Dow to sell rail operations to Watco

News Wire Digest fourth section for July 6: Pittsburgh transit tunnel begins two years of repairs; passengers concerned about mask non-compliance on Long Island Rail Road
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Still more Monday morning rail news:

Dow to sell rail operations to Watco

Dow Inc. will sell its rail infrastructure and operations at six sites to Watco for more than $310 million, the chemical giant announced today. The two companies will also enter long-term service agreements to continue to provide service to Dow businesses at the sties in Plaquemine and St. Charles, La.; Freeport and Seadrift, Texas; Fort Sakatchewam and Prentice, Alberta. Dow CEO Jim Fitterling said in a press release that the sale was part of an “ongoing review” seeking to focus Dow on its core chemical business. The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2020, with 14 Dow employees and management of approximately 400 contract workers expended to move to Watco as part of the deal. Watco operates 43 railroads in North America and Australia, as well as terminal and port services.

Two-year project begins in Pittsburgh transit tunnel
The Port Authority of Allegheny County will begin nightly closures of its Mount Washington Transit Tunnel beginning this evening for repairs, a process expected to take two years. The Pittsburgh Post Gazette reports the daily 8 p.m. to 4:30 a.m. means no light rail or bus service will use the tunnel during those hours; commuters should expect trips to take 10 minutes longer during those periods as light rail lines and bus service are rerouted through Allentown. The 3,500-foot tunnel, which opened in 1904,is receiving an upgrade of its electrical system.

Long Island Rail Road passengers ask for enforcement of mask rule
Some Long Island Rail Road passengers are expressing concern over riders who are not wearing face coverings, and asking the commuter rail road to enforce the requirement. While Newsday reports that officials at LIRR parent Metropolitan Transportation Authority say compliance is as high as 95%, some Long Island passengers say it is considerably lower, and even some rail employees aren’t complying. A LIRR spokeswoman said employees remind customers to wear masks and that anyone not doing so could be asked to leave the system. Anthony Smith, general chairman of the union representing the railroad’s conductors said they remind passengers of the mask requirement and hand out informational messages explaining it, but try to avoid “the inevitable confrontations that arise on opinion and policy.” Smith said the railroad has made it clear compliance is a matter for law enforcement, but MTA CEO Patrick J. Foye has said previously that the agency does not want passengers arrested or removed from trains for non-compliance.


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