Greenwich, Connecticut-based shortline conglomerate Genesee & Wyoming Inc can control RailAmerica.
The Surface Transportation Board issued a late release today approving the transaction. If there are no requests to stay the decision before a December 24 deadline, then the deal becomes effective December 28 and a voting trust G&W set up after purchasing RailAmerica October 1 will be dissolved.
The merger puts three Peoria area shortlines under common control. G&W’s Illinois & Midland Railroad and Tazewell & Peoria Railroad will be joined by the Toledo Peoria & Western Railway. The Tazewell & Peoria Railroad leases the Peoria & Pekin Union Railway so only two of the three are G&W owned.
All three railroads should see some benefit from this transaction. Word is that G&W is more visionary than RA. It thinks more long term and commits more $$$ to keeping its motive power fleet and physical plant in top condition.
One change I expect to see at the TP&W includes consolidation of engine shop functions at the TZPR’s Creve Coeur facility. Another is that although TZPR and TP&W have access to the same customers on ADM’s River Track in Peoria, I expect both to continue providing service.
A study will be commenced to determine the best ways to use the two East Peoria Yards. In the end, though, I expect TP&W operations to be based at their own East Peoria Yard rather than integrated with TZPR’s facility. That is so TP&W-served grain shippers continue to get single-carrier service to ADM’s Peoria plant and KJRY/Mapleton traffic moving to and from CN/CSXT/NS does not have to be switched at TZPR’s East Peoria Yard.
Finally, I expect the TP&W name to remain. In the past, G&W purchased shortlines and renamed them to fit a standardized ”—&—” naming convention.
- David P. Jordan