MINNEAPOLIS, MN, Dec. 4, 2012 /PRNewswire/ - Canadian Pacific (TSX:CP) (NYSE:CP) today announced its intention to explore strategic options for its main line track from Tracy, MN west into South Dakota, Nebraska and Wyoming and is inviting expressions of interest from prospective partners. The line includes approximately 660 miles of track which encompasses CP's current operations between Tracy, MN and Rapid City, SD, north of Rapid City to Colony, WY, south of Rapid City to Dakota Jct., NE and connecting branchlines. CP has operated the rail line in this area since it assumed operational control of the Dakota, Minnesota & Eastern (DM&E) railroad in 2008. A number of grain, ethanol, clay and merchandise customers are rail-served in the area. "This portion of the CP network would be an attractive and highly viable opportunity for a low-cost operator. There is a strong long-term franchise here for an operator willing to maintain high quality service and explore growth opportunities with existing and future customers," said E. Hunter Harrison, President and Chief Executive Officer. "CP has successfully built many partnerships with shortline and Class 1 railroads throughout its system and we look forward to assessing the ways interested parties could work together with us to deliver quality service to customers on the west end of the DM&E through an innovative partnership." CP will be contacting interested parties seeking expressions of interest in December, 2012. Parties should contact Paul Clegg, Director Business Development at 403.319.6310 for further information. "CP will continue to fully serve customers along this rail line as we work with interested parties and evaluate proposals. We have undertaken similar reviews on other portions on our network in the past that have resulted in positive outcomes for shippers, employees, and operators,'' added Harrison.
A potential settlement between the railroad and activist investor Paul Hilal could emerge shortly that would bring in Hunter Harrison, who is well-regarded for his turnaround of Canadian Pacific Railway.