Thursday, September 17, 2009

Watco Cos. acquires a fourth Idaho short line

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Pittsburg, Kan.-based Watco Transportation Services, Inc. has announced an agreement with Rio Grande Pacific Corp. to acquire 36 miles of track from the Idaho Northern & Pacific Railroad. Watco plans to file with the Surface Transportation Board to operate the line through the Boise Valley Railroad (BVRR), to be headquartered in Boise, Idaho.

BVRR will operate two branches. One is the 11-mile Wilder Branch linking Wilder and Caldwell, Idaho. The second branch, 25 miles long, rungs from Nampa to just southeast of Boise, the state capital. The agreement also includes trackage rights from Nampa to Caldwell, Idaho.

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Watco said BVRR has entered into a lease-purchase agreement with the Idaho Northern & Pacific Railroad (INPR), a Rio Grande Pacific Corp. subsidiary, which currently leases the segments from the Union Pacific.

BVRR currently serves 84 customers, some of which are also customers of Watco subsidiaries Eastern Idaho Railroad, Great Northwest Railroad, and Yellowstone Valley Railroad. “This fits in well with our existing infrastructure in Idaho,” said Ed McKechnie, Watco’s chief commercial officer. “We look forward to serving the customersand expanding opportunities to help to grow their businesses.” He added, “We love doing business in Idaho and believe this railroad can grow and continue to be a strong part of the Boise economy.”

“On behalf of the Watco team, we want to welcome the Boise Valley into our growing company,” said Watco CEO Rick Webb. “We have a great deal of respect for the Rio Grande team and look forward to building on their good work in Boise.”