Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Iron Horse Roundup: Week of October 12-19

Hawkeye State shortline Iowa Northern is back in one piece as of the end of September. The railway was effectively bisected after the floods of 2008 washed out the Union Pacific bridge over the Cedar River in downtown Waterloo, IA. Although Union Pacific owned the affected bridge, the 163-mile Iowa Northern was the only railway using it when the 2008 floods struck. The loss of the bridge cut the Iowa Northern in half, requiring lengthy and time-consuming detours over other rail lines. Here, Craig Williams catches the first revenue train over the bridge on October 6th, 2009, led by IANR GP40-2LW #4001.

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is anticiapting that the filming of Tony Scott's Unstoppable in Western Pennsylvania will bring in an estimated $91 million in revenue to the reigon. The Pennsylvania Deparmtent of Community and Economic Development offers a 25-cent credit to film and TV production companies for every qualifying dollar spent within the state. To qualify, at least 60% of a movie, TV show, game show, commercial or pilot episode must be filmed in Pennsylvania. Although most of Unstoppable is slated to be filmed in the Keystone State, Brewster, OH and Olean, NY are listed among the other filming locations for the movie. Here, 'Alleghany & West Virginia' C44-9W #777 (Canadian Pacific #9777 in real life) is seen on Western New York & Pennsylvania trackage at Portville, NY.

Say Hello to Idaho's newest railroad- WATCO's 26-mile Boise Valley Railroad. Pittsburgh, KS-based WATCO entered into an agreement to lease the 11-mile Wilder branch and 25-mile Boise cutoff from Iowa Pacific's Idaho Northern & Pacific in September. Trackage rights over Union Pacific from Nampa to Caldwell, ID are also included in the deal. This is shortline operator WATCO's fourth railway in Idaho.

Speaking of WATCO, might as well say hello to Alabama's newest railroad while we're at it. WATCO started up operations of the Alabama Warrior railroad in mid-August. The Alabama Warrior operates 15 miles of track in the Birmingham, AL area and interchanges with the Norfolk Southern, BNSF and CSX. The railroad was previously operated as the Jefferson Warrior Railroad.

Union Pacific [NYSE: UNP] announced that they are testing Progress Rail's PR30C Gensets in intermediate line-haul service in Calfornia, Texas and the midwest. If successful, the UP will likely assign the cleaner locomotives to service in California due to the state's increasingly stringent emissions standards.
Rail America [NYSE: RA] made it's IPO debut on the New York Stock Exchange, starting at $13.75 a share on it's first day of trading (RA closed at $14.32 a share on Tuesday afternoon). Fortress Investment Group [NYSE: FIG], which acquired Rail America and the Florida East Coast seperately in 2007, is expected to be a 55% shareholder in RA.

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