STB grants utility final OK to build competing Arkansas rail line (10/2/2001)


Today, the Surface Transportation Board granted Entergy Arkansas Inc. and Entergy Rail final approval to build and operate an 8.6-mile rail line near Pine Bluff, Ark., designed to provide Entergy's White Bluff, Ark., electric-generating plant competing rail service.

Entergy, formally Arkansas Power & Light Co., owns and operates two coal-burning Arkansas plants, both of which are served solely by Union Pacific Railroad. The company sought STB approval to build the line, enabling Entergy's White Bluff plant to receive alternate, direct rail service from Burlington Northern Santa Fe.

The board determined that a pro-competitive "build-out" condition — imposed in STB's August 1996 decision approving the UP-Southern Pacific Railroad merger — requires UP to grant BNSF trackage rights over UP's Little Rock-Pine Bluff line, enabling BNSF to reach Entergy's proposed line.

Entergy affiliate Entergy Rail will build and operate the line; the project is subject to specified environmental-impact mitigation measures imposed by STB's Section of Environmental Analysis.

Source: Progressive Railroading Daily News