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Rail News: Federal Legislation & Regulation

STB rejects Metra's request for declaratory order in dispute with UP


The Surface Transportation Board (STB) last week denied Metra's request for a declaratory order and a petition for preliminary injunction on issues related to its ongoing dispute with Union Pacific Railroad over Chicago-area commuter-rail service.

The STB declined to issue the declaratory order on issues already pending before a district court that declined to refer those issues to the board. 

In July, Metra filed the petition for declaratory order and a petition for preliminary injunction related to its purchase-of-service agreement (PSA) with UP, which was set to expire Aug. 31. UP owns three lines in the Metra system and has operated those lines under the PSA. Early this summer, UP advised Metra that it would begin to phase out various services provided under the PSA.

Metra asked the STB to issue the declaratory order that UP has a continuing common carrier obligation to provide commuter service. The two sides also have been engaged in a lawsuit over the matter, and Metra has tried to get the court case dismiss and convince the STB to handle the railroads' dispute.

The STB's Sept. 25 ruling follows a U.S. District Court's decision to keep the UP lawsuit against Metra, noting that the court does have jurisdiction over contract disputes.





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