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Friday, October 25, 2013

Mule Sidetracks eyes Ohio R-O-W buy

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Right-of-way used by Ohio short line Youngstown & Southern Railroad (Y&SR), currently owned by the Columbiana County Port Authority (CCPA), may soon be sold to Mule Sidetracks LLC, a noncarrier, for an estimated $3 million.

Mule Sidetracks, an affiliate of Denver-based MarkWest Energy Partners LP, on Friday, Oct. 25, 2013 filed a verified notice of exemption with the Surface Transportation Board, seeking approval of the purchase of about 37 miles of right-of-way. In addition, Mule Sidetracks seeks "permanent assignments of CCPA's agreements and operating rights to approximately 3 miles of continuous track segments running east of milepost 0.0 that connect to the Line and that, inter alia, facilitate interchange with Norfolk Southern Railway Company (NSR) and CSX Transportation, Inc. (CSXT)."

The STB filing, Docket No. FR-4915-01-P, says Mule Sidetracks "will be a common carrier on the Line," and upon acquisition, "intends to continue operations with Y&SR." Final acquisition is anticipated to occur Nov. 8, 2013. Y&SR is owned by Connorsville, Ind.-based Indiana Boxcar Corp.

Through Mule Sidetracks, MarkWest Energy Partners may be seeking to tap potential business along Y&SR right-of-way, straddling the Ohio-Pennsylvania border,  related to hydraulic fracturing (fracking). Both companies so far have not commented publicly on their plans, however.