Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Cold Train owner sues BNSF Railway

Cold Train owner sues BNSF Railway

Dan Wheat       Capital Press     April 7, 2015

The owner of a refrigerated rail service that went out of business is suing BNSF Railway for failing to provide service therefore messing up sale of the refrigerated service.

SPOKANE — The owner and top official of the company that owns Cold Train, a defunct refrigerated rail service between the Pacific Northwest and Midwest, is suing BNSF Railway for $41 million or more.

The lawsuit alleges BNSF reneged on a contract to provide rail service to Cold Train, misrepresented itself in saying it would improve rail service and did so knowing a sale of the company depended on it, said Dale Foreman, a Wenatchee attorney representing the plaintiffs, Michael Lerner and Steve Lawson.

Lerner is the owner of Overland Park, Kan.-based Rail Logistics, which owns Cold Train. Lawson is president of Rail Logistics. The lawsuit was filed on their behalf in U.S. District Court in Spokane on April 7.

A BNSF spokesman had no immediate comment.

The lawsuit seeks an amount to be proven at trial estimated to be in excess of $41 million, Foreman said. Of that, $31.7 million is for the loss of the sale of Cold Train to Federated Railways of Farmington Hills, Mich., and approximately $6 million is for Cold Train’s acquisition of refrigerated rail cars to build up the business, he said.

Cold Train operated from April 2010 to August 2014 and grew to about 700 refrigerated containers per month headed east, carrying apples, produce and frozen goods.....

...The service was 92 percent on time with 72-hour delivery from Quincy to Chicago, he said. From Illinois, service reached into 18 other states in the East and South.....

.... BNSF’s on-time delivery began dropping, first to 81 percent in September 2013 and then to 54 percent in October and 35 percent in December, according to the lawsuit.

Each month, BNSF kept assuring Lerner and Lawson that service would improve and was enthusiastic about the sale of the business to Federated, the lawsuit states.

“Our belief is the railroad was making so much money shipping shale oil out of North Dakota into Chicago that it didn’t have space on the rails for Cold Train,” Foreman said.....    more here

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