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WISCONSIN CENTRAL URGES RAIL USERS TO BE WARY OF CNW CAMPAIGN

 WISCONSIN CENTRAL URGES RAIL USERS TO BE WARY OF CNW CAMPAIGN
 North Western is More Interested in Preserving its "Sweet Deal,"
 Not Competition; Large Railroad Demands "Free Ride"
 at Small Railroad's Expense
 ROSEMONT, Ill., June 22 /PRNewswire/ -- Shippers and the people of Wisconsin and Michigan should be wary of Chicago and North Western's claims of preserving competition. What they really want to preserve is their "sweet deal" with the Fox River Valley Railroad, said Edward Burkhardt, president of Wisconsin Central Transportation Corporation.
 In a candid letter to customers and public officials, Burkhardt said the North Western's request for competitive conditions "are designed to perpetuate CNW's sole control of much of the existing FRVR traffic, at the same time critically weakening the Fox Valley & Western" -- WCTC's subsidiary that plans to acquire and operate the rail properties of the FRVR and Green Bay and Western.
 Burkhardt's letter disclosed that North Western's sale of FRVR in 1988 to Itel Rail Corporation contained "a web of agreements," effectively ensuring that, with a few minor exceptions, CNW would handle all of FRVR's freight shipments between Milwaukee and Chicago.
 Information about the CNW's shipping pact was discovered by Burkhardt last January, following WCTC's agreement with Itel to buy the FRVR and GB&W properties. Since then, the Chicago and North Western Transportation Company has been "working overtime to derail our plans," according to Burkhardt.
 Contrary to allegations by the North Western, the FV&W will continue to provide service and make rates with CNW over the Milwaukee Gateway. But Burkhardt said, "WC and FV&W service will be coordinated, and WC's service package will be much superior." The FV&W proposal, he said, has major public benefits and "will produce major savings, permit improved shipper service, and will allow us to continue reinvesting in Wisconsin's rail plant." He said, most shippers involved support the FV&W proposal.
 The North Western, he said, has never allowed WC nor any other carrier to compete at Green Bay, Wis. for the traffic originating or terminating at CNW points in northeastern Wisconsin and upper Michigan. "They want trackage rights between Green Bay and Cleveland to preserve their anti-competitive position."
 Unprecedented Demands
 North Western's demand to serve industries located on the FV&W -- including those on the Green Bay and Western -- is "unprecedented," according to Burkhardt. "It would result in switching services duplicated by two railroads at hundreds of industries scattered over hundreds of miles, a situation never before seen anywhere in this nation."
 Burkhardt described North Western's demand to use WC's track from Wisconsin Rapids to Wausua, Wis. as a "naked attempt to gain via ICC order what CNW has been unable to obtain in private negotiations with WC." He reminded shippers that in September, 1991 (four months before the FV&W purchase announcement), CNW notified shippers that its Green Bay-Wausau line is subject to abandonment. "Now, CNW is arguing that access over WC to Wausau is necessary to preserve competition." Under CNW's demand, they would recover $3 million by salvaging the Wausua line, and "CNW could pick and choose what traffic to handle, paying WC only a nominal rental fee." He said the CNW is following the same policy they have for years: "allow the line to deteriote and then abandon it." CNW, he noted, has abandoned or sold almost 1,500 miles of railroad in Wisconsin between 1973 and 1991.
 According to Burkhardt, the North Western is following, "a long- standing policy of disinvestment in Wisconsin, and are now demanding that they get a free ride, while WCTC makes massive investment and pays the bills. Their self-serving demands do not deserve the support of the shipping public."
 Burkhardt said since its beginning, WC has consistently won the highest grades in the industry for its rail service and for the three years in a row has earned the coveted "Quality Carrier" award from DISTRIBUTION magazine, an achievement shared by only one other railroad. WC has also invested more than $250 million in its rail infrastructure through acquisition of the property itself, and later through physical improvements to track and equipment.
 Wisconsin Central Transportation Corporation is publicly traded on the NASDAQ under the ticker symbol WCLX. The company's principal subsidiary, Wisconsin Central Ltd., operates more than 2,000 miles of railroad serving Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota, Michigan's Upper Peninsula and Ontario.
 -0- 6/22/92
 /CONTACT: Tom Power of Wisconsin Central Transportation Corporation, 708-318-4602/
 (WCLX) CO: Wisconsin Central Transportation Corporation ST: Wisconsin, Illinois IN: TRN SU:


AL -- MN009 -- 2525 06/22/92 15:56 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jun 22, 1992
Words:754
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