Rail sale delayed

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 26, 2002

The Iowa Chicago & Eastern Railroad Corp.'s purchase of the I&M Rail Link is not expected to be final until Monday or Tuesday, said Wayne Kromminga, head of the Southeastern Minnesota Rail Shippers.

The Southeastern Minnesota Rail Shippers held its annual meeting Thursday in Austin. Representatives from Iowa Chicago & Eastern Railroad Corp., which is associated with the Dakota Minnesota & Eastern Railroad, were at the meeting to talk to members of the Rail Shippers. The IC&E president and representatives from DM&E were expected to show, but did not because they do not plan to close the sale until next week.

"We didn't find out a lot except that it looks like it's a go," Kromminga said.

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The I&M Rail Link will be run by IC&E for a period of time before DM&E takes it over.

IC&E plans to upgrade the track from Owatonna to Austin, Kromminga said. The train traffic may increase, he said.

"The Austin track may see some sort of increase," Kromminga said.

Current employees of I&M will keep their jobs, but employees have not heard additional information about the potential sale, said I&M employee David Bublitz.

The track near Kromminga's business, Hayward Elevator, will not change in train volume. That track is in good shape and probably will not need to be replaced, he said. Kromminga uses trains to ship grain.

IC&E is the fifth railroad that the Rail Shippers have worked with in the 20 years it has existed. Its members are from businesses in the Austin-Albert Lea Area who use trains to ship products and those who are just interested in helping the railway prosper.

"We just stay together to work with any rail line in the area," Kromminga said.

Cari Quam can be reached at 434-2235 or by e-mail at cari.quam@austindailyherald.com