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East Broad Top


2012 TRAIN OPERATIONS QUASHED? On May 18, 2012, the Friends of Pennsylva- nia’s East Broad Top narrow gauge railroad announced that its three-year operating agree- ment with the railroad had expired and the group could not reach a new agreement with the railroad’s owners, the Kovalchik family. As a result, the EBT will not operate this year. FEBT continues to work on its various restora- tion projects, which include combine No. 14 and the Rockhill Furnace blacksmith shop building and roundhouse. Shop tours will be available for groups by reservation and the Robertsdale depot museum will remain open.


Iowa Pacific


IT’S OFFICIAL: Santa Cruz County, Calif., has formally named Iowa Pacific Holdings as operator on the coast-hugging former Southern Pacific Santa Cruz branch between Wat- sonville Junction and Davenport, Calif. Iowa Pacific says it will first concentrate on rebuild- ing the line’s freight traffic base and later insti- tute passenger service, which will include din- ner trains and specials such as the Polar Express, out of Santa Cruz. Farther out, the company may introduce passenger service be- tween Santa Cruz, Watsonville Junction, and possibly San Jose.


Norfolk Southern


NO GRANT MONEY FOR PORTAGEVILLE: Norfolk Southern’s request for a $17.75 million Transportation Investment Generating Eco- nomic Recovery (TIGER III) discretionary grant from the U.S. Department of Trans- portation for the construction of a new bridge over the Genesee River near Portageville, N.Y., has been turned down, but the project is not dead. Spokesman David Pidgeon said, “Constructing a new bridge in Letchworth State Park remains one of Norfolk Southern’s priorities. We’re currently working with our private and public partners on drawing up the budget, and no timeline has been established.” See the February 2012 RAILNEWS column for more information on the $39 million project, which will replace a trestle built in 1875 by the Erie Railroad with a modern steel arch bridge.


RailAmerica


SHORT LINE GROUP MAY BE FOR SALE: Fortress Investment Group says it is dis- cussing the sale of its majority share in the RailAmerica short line holding company but stresses that the “preliminary talks” may not result in a sale. Fortress took the company pri- vate in early 2007 and later that year acquired Florida East Coast Industries and its Florida East Coast Railway. (FEC was kept separate from RA and would not part be of the sale package.) In late 2010 Fortress listed RA on the New York Stock Exchange and offered 44 per cent of its stock to the public while holding on to a 56 per cent controlling interest, which is now for sale. While carloadings have held fairly steady through the recession, the compa- ny sustained a $40.2 million loss in the first quarter of 2012 as a charge related to debt re-


CSX Office Car Special Makes Rare Tour of ex-B&O Route


CSX OFFICIALS toured the former Baltimore & Ohio River Subdivision between Parkersburg and Huntington, W.Va., for the first time in years on May 30, 2012. P902-29 runs west near Ravenswood (above), the first time the F40PH’s have covered the route west of Grafton.


Georges Creek Railway Dedicates Western Maryland Units


GEORGES CREEK RAILWAY’S GERALD ALITZER addressed spectators (above) at the for- mer Western Maryland depot in Cumberland, Md., on May 27, 2012, as he prepared to dedicate SD40 No. 7471 and SD38P No. 7436 (a former SD35, out of view to the right) to former Western Maryland employees. No. 7471 was named for George M. Leilich, a former WM operating officer and railfan who passed away in October 1993. No. 7436 is named after Donald “Red” Rush, Alitzer’s influential childhood neighbor who happened to work for the WM and cultivated his interest in rail- roading. The genuine former WM units were overhauled and painted at Metro East Industries in East St. Louis, Ill., and will work on GCK’s former WM Georges Creek branch out of Westernport. No. 7436 was substantially rebuilt by VMV Paducahbilt into a non-turbocharged 2000-h.p. hump locomotive for BNSF, while the SD40 is pretty much configured as delivered in 1968.


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ALEX MAYES


CHASE GUNNOE


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