A Desperate Effort To Clear The Tracks

If Union Pacific's latest brainstorm falters, it may lose lines

Thanks to a deal cut on Feb. 12 with rival Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corp., Union Pacific Chief Executive Richard K. Davidson has some breathing room. The deal sidetracks--for the moment--efforts to rearrange his company's 1996 merger with Southern Pacific Rail Corp. Since last summer, difficulties in merging UP and SP operations have led to massive freight delays. The pact, a major concession by Davidson, calls for BNSF and Union Pacific Corp. to share ownership of a rail line between Houston and New Orleans, which should help unsnarl traffic around the Gulf Coast.

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