The line includes around 1060km of track stretching from Tracy, Minnesota, to Rapid City, South Dakota, Colony, Wyoming, Dakota Junction, Nebraska, as well as connecting branch lines.

"This portion of the CP network would be an attractive and highly viable opportunity for a low-cost operator, says CP president and CEO Mr E Hunter Harrison. "There is a strong long-term franchise here for an operator willing to maintain a high-quality service and explore growth opportunities with existing and future customers."

CP completed the acquisition of the DM&E in October 2008 in a $US 1.48bn transaction which gave the railway access to the coalfields of Wyoming. CP purchased the railway with an option to construct a 418km extension into the Powder River Basin, but with the slump in demand for thermal coal, CP announced on December 3 it had deferred the plans indefinitely.

The disposal of the DM&E lines is one of a range of measures unveiled on December 4 which are intended to improve the financial health of CP. These include:

  • reducing the workforce by 4500 employees and/or contractor positions by 2016
  • continuing the programme of loop extensions to allow the operation of longer trains
  • relocation of CP's headquarters from central Calgary to a CP-owned site at the city's Ogden yard, and
  • a review of options for the former Delaware & Hudson network in the northeast United States.