Canadian Pacific says it is buying the rail line that figured in the tragic accident that claimed the lives of 47 people and caused more than $200 million in damage in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, six years ago.

Canadian Pacific said Thursday that it intends to buy Central Maine and Quebec Railway by year’s end. The estimated price for the deal is $130 million, and involves 481 miles of rail lines primarily in Maine and Quebec. It will provide Canadian Pacific with access to ports in Searsport and Saint John, New Brunswick.

“This strategic acquisition gives CP a true coast-to-coast network across Canada and an increased presence in the eastern U.S.,” CP President and CEO Keith Creel said in a release. “With additional port access, more dots on the map, and our proven precision scheduled railroading operating model, we are confident this transaction will bring benefits to all stakeholders moving forward.”

In July 2013, an unattended train carrying crude oil rolled down an incline before coming off the tracks in Lac-Megantic, exploding into a massive ball of fire, consuming much of the downtown and killing 47 people. The train was operated by Montreal Maine & Atlantic Railway, which later filed bankruptcy. An affiliate of Fortress Investment Group bought the assets of MM&A and formed Central Maine and Quebec in 2014.

In a statement, Maine Transportation Commissioner Bruce Van Note said the investments made by the state and Central Maine and Quebec Railway helped lay the foundation for its sale to Canadian Pacific.

“The return of a Class 1 railroad to our state provides for more competitive shipping options and more seamless access to national rail routes for the Port of Searsport and businesses in Maine,” Van Note said.”Better transportation connections to the larger rail system provide better economic opportunities for the state.”

Canadian Pacific is a transcontinental railway in Canada and the U.S. with direct links to major ports on the West and East coasts. Last year, it reported revenues in excess of $7 billion and employed nearly 13,000 people.


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