From Rails & Ports on Facebook:
VRS Parent Forms New Corp to Acquire and Operate NEGS
Trans Rail Holding Company, the parent company of Vermont Rail System, has filed notice with the STB to use the name Merrimack &Grafton Railroad Corporation (MGRC) to acquire the New England Southern Railroad property and rights. In March, Vermont Rail System ownership formed Trans Rail Holding Company and then in turn filed with the STB to control the VRS properties.
On April 30, 2020 TRHC entered into an agreement to purchase some of the business assets of the New England Southern Railroad Co. (NEGS), a Class III rail carrier that is the designated operator of the approximately 73-mile long line of railroad that runs between Milepost P 21.30 at Lincoln, New Hampshire to Milepost C 0.58 at Concord, New Hampshire on the former B&M White Mountain Branch.
The rail lines are owned by the State of New Hampshire and NEGS has provided common carrier rail operations over the Line pursuant to an Operating Agreement between NEGS and the New Hampshire Department of Transportation, dated November 14, 2012. As part of NEGS's agreement with TRHC, NEGS will assign all of its rights and obligations under the Operating Agreement to the MGRC, anon-carrier subsidiary formed by TRHC for the purpose of becoming the new designated operator of the Line. Prior to the commencement of service on the Line TRHC and MGRC will have obtained the required consent of NHDOT to the assignment of the Operating Agreement to MGRC.
NEGS will remain an independent Class III rail carrier after the transaction is closed. MGRC has filed a separate notice of exemption in STB Docket No. FD 36405 pursuant to 49 C.F.R. § 1150.31 (a)(3) to become the new operator of the Line. Upon obtaining the right to operate over the Line MGRC will become a Class III carrier.
TRHC notes that the rail line being acquired does not connect with any of the tracks of the other five railroads controlled by TRHC. Moreover, the involved transaction is not part of a series of anticipated transactions that would connect the Line to any of the tracks of the other railroads. Neither MGRC nor any of the carriers controlled by TRI-IC are Class I rail carriers.
Per the filing, this transaction falls within the class of transactions described under 49 C.F.R. § 1180.2(d)(2) and is exempt from prior approval by the Surface Transportation Board.
The requested decision will allow TRHC to have continued control of its subsidiary MGRC to assist the latter in replacing NEGS as the operator of the Line in order to ensure freight rail operations and service to rail shippers continue on this rail line for State of New Hampshire. The transaction will also provide efficiencies and operating economies, as well as improve the financial viability of both TRHC and NEGS, the latter of which has been in need of operating capital.