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3/8/2002



Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

STB, FRA team up to tame merging-railroad integration


Surface Transportation Board and Federal Railroad Administration March 8 jointly issued final rules that would enable the agencies to better coordinate and consider safe-integration issues tied to certain railroad mergers or consolidations.
During the Conrail merger, the agencies recognized the need to work together to ensure that a transaction is safely implemented.
Per FRA and labor union requests, STB required CSX Transportation and Norfolk Southern Railway to file detailed safety integration plans (SIPs), within FRA guidelines — the board sought similar plans during merger proceedings between Canadian National Railway Co., and Illinois Central Railroad and Wisconsin Central Transportation Corp.
STB in December 1997 sought public comment on safe-integration policy through an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking.
U.S. Department of Transportation then suggested a joint rulemaking, leading the board to develop a partnership with FRA to regulate the safe implementation of future mergers. FRA and STB in December 1998 issued a joint Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for public review and comment; a public hearing was held in May 1999 with FRA.
The joint final rules establish an SIP-consideration procedure for transactions requiring an SIP, and mandate that FRA participate in that process. In such cases, a proposed SIP containing information required by FRA rules would be filed with STB and FRA. The proposed SIP must be submitted to STB and FRA no later than 60 days from the date an application is filed with the board.


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