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Rail News: Federal Legislation & Regulation

STB orders all Class Is to provide weekly service performance reports

The Surface Transportation Board (STB) yesterday announced it now will require all Class Is to publicly file weekly reports regarding service performance data to promote industry-wide transparency, accountability and improved service.

Beginning Oct. 22, each Class I must provide the following information on a weekly basis:
• system average train speed for eight train types;
• average terminal dwell time;
• total cars on line;
• average dwell time at origin for unit-train shipments;
• the total number of trains held short of destination or a scheduled interchange for longer than six hours per train type;
• the total number of loaded and empty cars in revenue service that weren't moved in more than 120 hours, or more than 48 hours but less than or equal to 120 hours;
• the total number of grain cars loaded and billed, reported by state;
• plan versus performance for grain shuttles; and
• average daily coal unit train loadings versus plan.

The order follows two recent public hearings conducted by the STB on rail service issues, during which many rail shippers expressed concerns about the lack of publicly available rail service metrics and requested access to certain performance data from railroads to better understand the scope, magnitude and impact of service problems.

"Although the board currently monitors various metrics of railroad performance, [we] agree that there is a need for broader standardized performance data from the railroad industry as it continues to address existing service challenges," STB members said in a decision that institutes the order. "The United States rail system is an interconnected network, and one carrier’s service problems can affect the performance of other carriers. Although the severity differs, shippers have reported problems on multiple carriers. Thus, the board views the network as a whole, and seeks to better understand performance across the entire network."

The new reporting requirements will provide the board and various stakeholders access to data needed for a real-time understanding of regional and national service issues, they said.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 10/9/2014