Nov 23, 2022 - Economy & Business

Cincinnati agrees to sell rail line in $1.6 billion deal

An illustration of A freight train with money coming out of the smoke stack

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Norfolk Southern, an Atlanta-based freight rail operator, has agreed to buy Cincinnati Southern Railway from the City of Cincinnati for $1.62 billion in cash.

Why it matters: This comes against the backdrop of a possible freight rail-workers strike, which could cripple the U.S. economy.

Details: CSR runs around 360 miles from Cincinnati to Chattanooga, Tenn., atop around 9,500 acres of land and operated under a lease agreement with a Norfolk Southern subsidiary that's set to expire in 2026.

  • Deal closure is subject to approval by Cincinnati voters and the U.S. Surface Transportation Board.
  • CSR trustees have said proceeds would be put into an investment trust, whose returns would fund existing infrastructure like roads, bridges and parks.

History, per WXIX: "The route was funded with a $10 million bond issue approved by Cincinnati voters in June 1869, just as the steamboat era that put Cincinnati on the map was winding down. It became a dependable cash cow for the City after its operations were leased out in 1881 to the company that would eventually become Norfolk Southern."

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