|SURFACE TRANSPORTATION BOARD DECISION DOCUMENT|
|WATCO COMPANIES, INC.--CONTINUANCE IN CONTROL EXEMPTION--YELLOWSTONE VALLEY RAILROAD, INC.|
|Director Of Proceedings|
|PROVIDED NOTICE THAT WATCO COMPANIES, INC. FILED A VERIFIED NOTICE OF EXEMPTION TO CONTINUE IN CONTROL OF THE YELLOWSTONE VALLEY RAILROAD, INC. (YVRR), UPON YVRR'S BECOMING A CLASS III RAIL CARRIER.|
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|Full Text of Decision|
36094 SERVICE DATE –
DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Surface Transportation Board
[STB Finance Docket No. 34736]
Watco Companies, Inc.–Continuance in Control Exemption–Yellowstone Valley Railroad, Inc.
Watco Companies, Inc. (Watco), has filed a verified notice of exemption to continue in control of the Yellowstone Valley Railroad, Inc. (YVRR), upon YVRR’s becoming a Class III rail carrier.
transaction was scheduled to be consummated on or shortly after
transaction is related to the concurrently filed verified notice of exemption
in STB Finance Docket No. 34737, Yellowstone Valley Railroad, Inc.–Lease and
Operation Exemption–BNSF Railway Company.
In that proceeding, YVRR seeks to acquire by lease from the BNSF Railway
Company and operate approximately 171.97 miles of rail line extending between: (1) milepost 6.0, near
Watco, a Kansas corporation, is a noncarrier that currently controls 12 Class III rail carriers: South Kansas and Oklahoma Railroad Company (SKO); Palouse River & Coulee City Railroad, Inc. (PRCC); Timber Rock Railroad, Inc. (TIBR); Stillwater Central Railroad, Inc. (SLWC); Eastern Idaho Railroad, Inc. (EIRR); Kansas & Oklahoma Railroad, Inc. (K&O); Pennsylvania Southwestern Railroad, Inc. (PSWR); Great Northwest Railroad, Inc. (GNR); Kaw River Railroad, Inc. (KRR); Mission Mountain Railroad, Inc. (MMT); Appalachian & Ohio Railroad, Inc. (AO); and Mississippi Southern Railroad, Inc. (MSRR).
Applicant states that: (1) the rail lines operated by SKO, PRCC, TIBR, SLWC, EIRR, K&O, PSWR, GNR, KRR, MMT, AO and MSRR do not connect with the rail lines being leased by YVRR; (2) the continuance in control is not part of a series of anticipated transactions that would connect the rail lines being acquired by YVRR with any railroad in the Watco corporate family; and (3) neither YVRR nor any of the carriers controlled by Watco are Class I carriers. Therefore, the transaction is exempt from the prior approval requirements of 49 U.S.C. 11323. See 49 CFR 1180.2(d)(2). The purpose of the transaction is to reduce overhead expenses and coordinate billing, maintenance, mechanical and personnel policies and practices of applicant’s rail carrier subsidiaries and thereby improve the overall efficiency of rail service provided by the 13 railroads.
Under 49 U.S.C. 10502(g), the Board may not use its exemption authority to relieve a rail carrier of its statutory obligation to protect the interests of its employees. Section 11326(c), however, does not provide for labor protection for transactions under sections 11324 and 11325 that involve only Class III rail carriers. Accordingly, the Board may not impose labor protective conditions here, because all of the carriers involved are Class III carriers.
If the verified notice contains false of misleading information, the exemption is void ab initio. Petitions to revoke the exemption under 49 U.S.C. 10502(d) may be filed at any time. The filing of a petition to revoke will not automatically stay the transaction.
An original and 10 copies of all pleadings, referring to STB Finance Docket
No. 34736, must be filed with the
Surface Transportation Board,
Board decisions and notices are available on our website at WWW.STB.DOT.GOV.
By the Board, David M. Konschnik, Director, Office of Proceedings.
 Watco owns 100% of the issued and outstanding stock of YVRR.
 Although Watco indicated that this transaction would be consummated
on or shortly after
 YVRR also
seeks to acquire incidental, overhead trackage rights
over the BNSF rail lines located between:
(1) milepost 78.6, on the BNSF Sidney Subdivision, near