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MRL Reactivates Bitterroot Branch

MONTANA RAIL LINK ran the first train in nearly a year over the 9th Subdivision, also known as the Bitterroot Branch, on May 19, 2012. The line extends about 50 miles south of Missoula to Darby, and has been out of service since a flood in June 2011 damaged the right of way near Stevensville. The railroad wanted to abandon the route, but ship- pers and the local government put up funds to make repairs and have


CUSTOMS RELIEF DUE AT MONTREAL: Passengers on Amtrak’s Adirondack may soon experience streamlined Customs processing when crossing the border in both directions. A new facility is now under construction at Gare Centrale which will allow the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol to interview passengers be- fore departure, while Canada’s Border Ser- vices Agency will process inbound passengers upon arrival. Under the present arrangement, the train is subject to extensive and unpre- dictable delays during customs inspections at the border town of Rouses Point, N.Y. Under the new arrangement, Amtrak will eliminate its Canadian stop at St. Lambert so that the train can be sealed between Montreal and the border. If the Vermonter route, which current- ly runs between Washington, D.C., and St. Al- bans, Vt., is extended to Montreal, that train would also use the new Customs facility.

Canadian National

EX-OAKWAYS ARRIVE: Canadian National is putting its 43 newly-acquired ex-Oakway SD60s into service and numbering them into the 5400-5442 series, last occupied by the retired SD50F’s. They’re running in their blue and white Oakway paint but will eventually be painted into CN colors at Centralia, Ill. The rail- road will also receive another 53 used C40-8s along with 35 ES44AC diesels from General Electric and 30 SD70ACe’s from Electro-Motive.


applied for a federal TIGER III grant to further upgrade the line, which is currently in service as far as Hamilton. The first train had GP9s 127 and 113 leading 22 cars south near Lolo (above), en route to Victor. The consist included a covered hopper and nine loads of structural steel, which were separated by empty boxcars due to a weight restriction on a bridge near Missoula.

Canadian Pacific

ACKMAN GROUP WINS PROXY FIGHT: In a surprise move, hours before Canadian Pa- cific’s May 17, 2012, stockholders meeting, the railroad announced that Fred Green had re- signed as president and CEO and five board members aligned with him would not stand for re-election. As a result, the Pershing Square Capital Management slate of candidates, in- cluding Pershing CEO William Ackman and Stephen Tobias, former vice president of opera- tions for Norfolk Southern, were elected to the board of directors. Tobias was named interim CEO and will serve until a search committee recruits a permanent replacement. That re- placement is likely to be E. Hunter Harrison, retired former president and CEO of CPR’s arch-rival Canadian National, who has been Ackman’s choice throughout the bitter contest. CPR management had been under pressure

from Pershing since 2011 for its last-place fi- nancial performance among Class I railroads and its 90 per cent operating ratio in the fourth quarter of 2010, which CPR blamed on a harsh winter; the ratio was brought down to 80 per cent a year later. Pershing began to purchase CPR stock and eventually amassed more than 14 per cent while it continued to attack Team Green’s performance. By the time the stock- holder meeting was held, Ackman had con- vinced a majority of CPR’s largest stockhold- ers, including investment firms, that the current management should be replaced. Sens- ing defeat, Green gave his notice the night be-

fore the meeting and CPR announced his de- parture around 8:00 a.m. Eastern time, hours before the meeting was to start in Calgary. While things have been quiet at CPR since

the big coup due in part to a ten-day strike by operating employees represented by the Team- sters Canada Rail Conference, look for big changes in the coming months. Ackman has said CPR paid too much for Dakota, Minnesota & Eastern in and he would get rid it. If Harri- son comes on board, expect many of the poli- cies he instituted at CN to follow, including a significant reduction in the motive power fleet (he trimmed CN’s roster by 20 per cent) and the implementation of his “scheduled railroad” operating philosophy.

Cape May Seashore Lines

TRACK THEFT KO’S EXCURSIONS: The March theft of tie plates and spikes from 6800 feet of main track between Woodbine and Den- nisville, N.J. has forced Cape May Seashore Lines to cancel its 2012 excursion season. CMSL President Tony Macrie says the perpe- trators damaged and destroyed many crossties while committing the theft. The vandalized section of track has been taken out of service and equipment cannot be moved from winter storage at Tuckahoe to Cape May, where the summer excursions are based (operations be- tween Tuckahoe and Richland are not affect- ed). The New Jersey State Police have arrested three individuals and a scrap dealer in connec- tion with the incident.


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