CSX on Friday announced it reached an agreement with the Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority (NNEPRA) to support the Class I’s planned acquisition of Pan Am Railways Inc. One of New England’s largest passenger-rail trade authorities, the NNEPRA agreed to file a letter with the Surface Transportation Board (STB) requesting approval of CSX’s revised application for the transaction. On July 30, the STB accepted the railroad’s revised application. NNEPRA’s support for the transaction is significant given its role as the primary state sponsor of Amtrak’s Downeaster service between Brunswick, Maine, and Boston, CSX officials said in a press release. “This agreement demonstrates our commitment to work collaboratively with all stakeholders and to maintain or improve passenger service in the region,” said CSX President and Chief Executive Officer James Foote. Maine Gov. Janet Mills recently filed a letter of support with the STB stating the transaction has the potential to bring substantial benefits to the state, which relies heavily on rail to deliver goods. If the transaction is approved — possibly sometime in 2022 — CSX plans to upgrade track and locomotives to improve service, and extend positive train control on Amtrak's Downeaster network. Based in North Billerica, Massachusetts, Pan Am owns and operates a nearly 1,200-mile network in New England and retains a partial interest in the more-than-600-mile Pan Am Southern rail system.
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