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13 bidders vie to purchase Conrail from government

Thirteen bidders are offering the government billions of dollars for Conrail, the federally owned freight railroad the Reagan administration wants to return to private enterprise.

''We have reached an important milestone in the government's efforts to return Conrail to stable private-sector ownership,'' Transportation Secretary Elizabeth Dole said after bidding closed midnight Monday.

Conrail was formed by the government to move freight throughout the East following the collapse of the Penn Central Railroad and six smaller lines.

After the bids are analyzed, Mrs. Dole will send to Congress the name of a recommended buyer.

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