PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — The bankrupt railroad whose runaway train sparked a fire and explosion that killed 47 people in Quebec could be sold by year's end, the company's trustee said Thursday.
Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway has made no secret that its sale will be necessary to repay creditors and victims following the July 6 disaster Lac-Megantic, Quebec. And railroad trustee Robert Keach said he's already been approached by "several" potential buyers.
"There is a sale process that has already begun. We're talking to interested parties," said Keach, a Portland attorney. He declined to name any of the potential buyers.
The company filed for bankruptcy protection a month after the disaster, and the sale of the Hermon-based railroad would have to be approved by U.S. Bankruptcy Court. If a buyer purchases all 512 miles of rail in Maine and Canada, then the deal would have to be approved by officials in both countries.
Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway continues to operate but has laid off most of its workers because rails through Lac-Megantic remain out of commission, disrupting the flow of goods.
Next week, Keach hopes to file with U.S. Bankruptcy Court a proposal for a loan that'll help the company continue operations through the bankruptcy process.
Keach also plans to file a proposal for funding bankruptcy administration costs that he says would not drain funds that should go to creditors and victims. A judge previously said he was concerned that attorney fees could drain the company of funds before victims of the train crash could be compensated.
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