Monday, May 19, 2014

Short line gets new name, new owner

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Hermon, Maine-based Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway has a new identity – Central Maine and Quebec Railway – following its purchase by Railroad Acquisisition Holdings LLC, an arm of New York-based Fortress Investment Group.

The purchase and name change, made official Thursday, May 15, 2014, gives the short line new direction following the derailment and explosion July 6, 2013, in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, resulting in 47 deaths.

Chapter 11 trustee Robert Keach said the parties closed on the US$15.85 million sale of bankrupt MM&A, formerly owned by Chicago-based Rail World, Inc. A separate, parallel Canadian proceeding has yet to be completed. Proceeds from the sale will help pay off creditors.

Conflicting media reports make the railroad's return to Lac-Mégantic unclear. Some outlets said the Central Maine and Quebec had "no plans to resume oil train shipments through the Quebec city; other reports held that new management would slowly and tactfully seek dialogue with Lac-Mégantic officials on eventually resuming such service. Limited service through Lac-Mégantic resumed Dec. 18, 2013.

Last week three former MM&A employees were arrested by Canadian authorities on charges of criminal negligence related to the derailment.