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June 7, 2021 10:45 AM, EDT

CSX Plan to Buy Pan Am Railways Rejected

CSX trainHenry Durand/ Associated Press

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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — Federal regulators recently rejected CSX’s plan to buy Pan Am Railways Inc., which operates 1,200 miles of track.

In its ruling, the federal Surface Transportation Board cited concerns that the CSX-Pan Am Southern deal would adversely impact shippers in and around Springfield that now have access to two competing freight-carrying railroads.

The dollar amount of the proposed purchase was not disclosed. The deal was announced in November.

In a written statement, CSX promised to provide more detail in a new application to STB by July 1.

“We are confident that the pro-competitive acquisition of Pan Am will bring significant benefits to stakeholders in the northeastern United States and beyond and look forward to presenting further detail illustrating those benefits,” the statement said. “CSX commits to maintaining or improving existing service on Pan Am, which in turn will improve customer competitiveness through lower costs, better service and improved access to the North American rail network. CSX will also maintain or improve existing passenger service across Pan Am.”

Amtrak, which owns the north-south tracks Pan Am uses from Springfield through Hartford to New Haven, Conn., filed papers arguing that the deal would hamper its plans to expand passenger rail. The state of Massachusetts owns the tracks north of Springfield.

Pan Am owns, among others, the east-west line in Massachusetts’ northern tier through Greenfield and North Adams. CSX owns east-west tracks from Albany, N.Y., through Pittsfield and Springfield to Worcester.

Amtrak said if the deal were to go through, it would increase freight traffic by up to 27% on the CSX line. Those tracks also are used by Amtrak’s Lake Shore Ltd., and could be used by future east-west passenger rail service.

“The replacement of Pan Am by CSX poses a grave threat to the Biden-Harris administration’s vision and Amtrak’s plans to implement that vision,” Amtrak wrote.

Amtrak has a 15-year, $75 billion plan for increasing passenger rail service. And east-west passenger rail is a major priority for Rep. Richard E. Neal (D-Mass.) and state Sen. Eric Lesser (D-Longmeadow).

In May, CSX said it is acquiring bulk liquid carrier Quality Carriers Inc. in a deal that expands the railroad’s footprint in the United States, Canada and Mexico. Quality Distribution, the parent company of Quality Carriers, ranks No. 38 on the Transport Topics list of Top 100 For-Hire-Carriers in North America and it is No. 2 on the list of Top Tank Truck/Bulk Carriers.

CSX Corp. ranks No. 17 on the Transport Topics Top 50 list of the largest global freight carriers.

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