The purchase of the I&M railroad’s on hold, partly because of opposition by Iowa’s transportation department. John Hey is a rail analyst at the D-O-T and says it’s not because the deal’s no good, there are just some big issues at stake.He says two railroads merging will affect shippers, communities and folks who wonder what the impact will be. Railroads are critical to shipping Iowa’s farm harvest, Hey says, and people want hard facts about operational details.He says they want to know how the railroad will be run and what services it will provide, financial outlines that will show whether the railroad will be stronger after a merger. Hey says the state wants to ensure the railroad stays in business providing needed services, since if a railroad’s financially weak, it puts the whole service in jeopardy. Hey says the Iowa line that’s the merger target is an important link.The I-and-M Rail Link has a line across northern Iowa that serves many grain and industrial shippers along the river and reaches to Chicago, Kansas City and Minneapolis. Right now the deal’s under a “housekeeping hold” by the federal Surface Transportation Board, but could be set in motion by the end of the month. The would-be buyer is a fast-growing South Dakota company, the Dakota, Minnesota and Eastern Railroad.
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