The deal between CSX and RailUSA for sale of CSX lines through the Florida Panhandle went off the rails in January. Transfer of ownership of the Tallahassee, Pensacola & Atlantic, and portions of the Bainbridge subdivisions to RailUSA’s Florida Gulf & Atlantic was approved by the Surface Transportation Board last year for a January 6 startup, but the deal reportedly fell apart when CSX and RailUSA were unable to agree on final terms. The sale was to ecompass 373-miles of track, and would have been the second major spin off by CSX, following its sale of Illinois trackage to WATCO’s Decatur & Eastern Illinois last fall.
The FG&A was to be the second railroad operated by RailUSA, a new railroad holding company led by Gary Marino, who previously created and headed RailAmerica and Patriot Rail. It is a subsidiary of International Rail Partners, which Marino formed in concert with Sam Zell’s Equity Group Investments. The company acquired the 206-mile Grenada Railroad in August. Both RailUSA and IRP are based in Boca Raton, Florida.
Most of the CSX traffic moving across the Panhandle route was previously rerouted to a parallel line to the north, and it appears likely CSX will seek another buyer.
—Eric Berger, Railfan & Railroad