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Progressive Railroading

June 2021 Editorial Lineup

June Cover Story:

Watco's Gainful Growth Strategy

Watco Cos. LLC has been operating since 1983, but its rise to North America's second-largest short-line holding company has accelerated over the past decade. Sometime soon, Watco will own and operate 48 short lines.

The company will hit that mark after consummating a recent deal with CN to acquire more than 900 miles of track in Michigan, Wisconsin and Ontario, Canada, which is subject to Surface Transportation Board approval. Watco plans to form new short lines Fox Valley & Lake Superior Rail System LLC and Grand Elk Railroad Inc. to operate the lines.

The holding company is pursuing and registering growth in more ways than just its short-line roster. Watco owns and operates a number of terminals, ports and mechanical shops, and provides material handling and storage, rolling stock maintenance and repair, logistics, and facility development and design services. Expanding and enhancing those aspects of its business is vital, as well.

What is Watco's overall strategy and how will it be achieved? Where else might the firm acquire or establish short lines? What else is on its growth radar? For answers, Managing Editor Jeff Stagl checks in with the following top Watco executives: CEO Dan Smith, EVP and COO Nick Coomes, EVP and CCP Stefan Loeb, and EVP and CFO Rick Baden.


Ballast Management

Ballast maintenance programs and practices can affect system velocity and reliability — and that makes shoulder ballast cleaning, undercutting and tamping crucial components of every railroad's maintenance program. A cross-section of suppliers share information on their latest ballast delivery, installation, maintenance and service offerings.


Wheels, Axles & Brakes

Historically, freight-car and locomotive component suppliers have been captive to the cyclical order rollercoaster. They've also contended with raw material shortages as they attempt to develop new technology and services. How has the market evolved? What's new in terms if wheel, axle and brake technology? Providers of wheels, axle and brake technology share information on their current products and services.

Special Advertising Section:

COVID-19: One Year Later

Note: All editorial topics are subject to change without notice.

Acacia Reber

Acacia Reber

Regional Sales Manager