New Progressive Rail short line to operate BNSF lines in Washington state

(Source: Progressive Railroading 12/10/2018)

Progressive Rail Inc. has filed a notice of exemption with the Surface Transportation Board to assume operations of about 83 miles of track owned by BNSF Railway Co. in Washington.

The lines originate in Chewelah and extend to Kettle Falls, where they diverge into two branches. The west branch runs northwest from Kettle Falls to West Kettle Falls, Washington, and the east branch runs northeast to the U.S.-Canada border and Columbia Gardens, British Columbia.

The lines currently are operated by Kettle Falls International Railway LLC, which is owned by OmniTRAX Inc. and manages 133 miles of former BNSF trackage in northeastern Washington State and southeastern British Columbia.

BNSF and Progressive Rail expect to consummate a lease/operation deal by year’s end. As a result of the transaction, Progressive Rail plans to form a new short line — the St. Paul & Pacific Northwest Railroad Co. LLC  — to replace Kettle Falls International Railway as the lines’ lessee and operator.

Progressive Rail currently owns the St. Paul & Pacific Railroad that operates in Watsonville, California, as well as the Chicago Junction Railway; Central Midland Railway; Crab Orchard & Egyptian Railroad; Clackamas Valley Railway; Cannon Valley Railroad; Iowa Traction Railway; Iowa Southern Railway; Progressive Rail short line in Lakeville, Minnesota; Piedmont & Northern Railroad; and Wisconsin Northern Railroad.