MARSHALL - Canadian Pacific is trying to find out if anybody is interested in buying a 660 miles of track that begins in Tracy and runs to Rapid City, S.D., and from there to Colony, Wyo., and Dakota Junction, N.D.
Canadian Pacific acquired 1,900 miles of track from Dakota, Minnesota and Eastern Railroad that included the Tracy line. The route carries mostly grain, construction clay, ethanol, and other merchandise according to Canadian Pacific spokesman Ed Greenberg.
"The decision to explore strategic options on this section of track is based on our desire to be a better operator for our customers and shareholders," Greenberg said. "We feel the track would be more appropriate for a smaller operator."
So far, not decision has been made to sell the former DM&E track, according to Greenberg. Canadian Pacific would make a decision to sell only after any potential offers were evaluated.
According to Tracy Area Chamber of Commerce Director Missie Erbes, a possible sale of the track could potentially have huge implications for the town.
"The railroad has always had a big impact on our town," Erbes said. "The town was founded because of the railroad. Hopefully they can work out some kind of deal that would continue to get goods going through our community."
CHS agricultural service company has a grain elevator in Tracy.
According to Todd Reif, general manager of CHS' Marshall office, it's too early to tell what effects a transfer of ownership might have, but the line definitely has a strong influence on agricultural activities in the area.
"It's also got influence on our Ruthton and Elkton operations," Reif said. "It runs right through the center of our area."
Reif pointed out the line runs through a very productive agricultural region with a lot of grain elevators along the route, and connects to the Burlington, Northern, and Santa Fe railroad at a junction just north of Florence.
"It'll have a pretty big effect along this agricultural community," Reif said.
Though cautioning that the announcement by Canadian Pacific was only an invitation for expressions of interest in buying the line, Reif said an announcement of this kind might mean the railroad expects to act sooner rather than later.