CSX Transportation’s plan to sell its 280-mile Massena Line in New York to Canadian National is officially dead.
In August 2019, CSX entered into an agreement to sell the Massena Line (the former Conrail Montreal Secondary) and a number of branch lines to CN. But as part of the deal, CSX wanted to prohibit CN from interchanging with Finger Lakes Railway and New York, Susquehanna & Western, near Syracuse, N.Y. Canadian National did not object to the condition, but the short lines did. In April 2020, the U.S. Surface Transportation Board approved the deal but said CSX had to drop the interchange provision. That decision quickly put the deal in question.
Last year, CN sued the STB, alleging that the board violated federal law by not approving the transaction with the condition. Federal law states the Board must approve a transaction “unless it would cause adverse competitive effects that are both ‘likely’ and ‘substantial’ and those adverse effects would not be outweighed by the anticipated benefits.”
But after a year in the court system, it appears no progress has been made in changing the STB’s mind and in June, all parties decided to drop the case, thus killing the deal for good. CSX has announced no change in the operation of this line connecting Montreal with its main line across New York State.