Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Watco to control Wisconsin & Southern

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Pittsburgh, Kan.-based Watco Transportation Services, LLC has announced it is acquiring what it calls “controlling ownership” of Milwaukee-based Wisconsin & Southern Railroad Co. (WSOR). Watco’s acquisition adds Wisconsin’s second-largest railroad to it stable of short line and regional properties.

watco_logo.jpgWatco filed a change of control notice with the Surface Transportation Board Tuesday, which is expected to become effective by the year’s end. The projected date of the transaction is Jan. 1, 2012.

The acquisition also will allow the WSOR to expand its footprint throughout the Midwest, seek out new markets and cost effective routings for Wisconsin businesses, and also maintaining the same level of service and commitment to the state of Wisconsin and its shippers that have defined its 30-year history. Wisconsin has provided considerable financial support for WSOR capital improvement projects over the years.

WSOR twice has been named the Railway Age Regional Railroad of the Year, in 2001 and in 2009. The railroad covers terrain in south central Wisconsin and northern Illinois, and interchanges with Class I railroads BNSF, Canadian National, Canadian Pacific, and Union Pacific.

William Gardner will continue to serve as president for the WSOR and looks forward to the upcoming challenges. “Our state’s future prosperity depends on an efficient and well-maintained rail system with access to a multitude of markets for Wisconsin’s own raw materials and finished products,” Gardner said in a statement. “Together, Watco and the WSOR will play a vital role in meeting the growing needs of our Customers and communities that rely upon rail as their primary means of transportation.”wsor_transparent_logo.jpg 

WSOR will retain its existing corporate structure, including its name and all operations, with headquarters and dispatching operations remaining in Milwaukee, Wis. As well, existing operating/grant agreements with state and local units of government will remain in effect, Watco and WSOR said. WSOR currently employs about 250 people.

“We are thrilled to have the WSOR join our growing family of short line railroads and sharing a common vision of customer satisfaction,” said Watco CEO Rick Webb. “Our two organizations are going to be very complimentary working together as one.”