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7/26/2004



Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

STB reschedules open voting conference to hearing date on small road line abandonment procedures



The Surface Transportation Board has postponed an open voting conference originally scheduled for tomorrow until Aug. 11.

The conference will be held prior to the board's scheduled public hearing on expediting procedures for small road line abandonments.

Last year, more than 60 regionals and short lines filed an exemption notice with the STB proposing that the board develop a simplified procedure to facilitate the sale and preservation of low-density branch lines targeted for abandonment.

A new exemption — such as no longer requiring a carrier to prove a line isn't viable — would enable interested shippers and communities to promptly preserve a line. Under current board regulations, it might take shippers and municipalities years to overturn an abandonment proceeding, causing a line's traffic to diminish and track condition to deteriorate, small road officials say.


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