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Rail News: Federal Legislation & Regulation

STB rejects Foster Farms' request to extend UP service order


The Surface Transportation Board this week declined to extend a 30-day emergency service order requiring Union Pacific Railroad to take certain steps to improve rail service to Foster Poultry Farms.

On June 17, the STB ordered UP to deliver on its commitment to move unit trains of corn on behalf of Foster Farms from origins in the Midwest to California. The board issued its decision in response to Foster Farms' petition for an emergency order.

According to Foster Farms' petition, UP delivers corn in 100-car unit trains to Foster Farms' facilities, where it is processed into corn meal for animal feed. The petition alleged that service failures began in February and that Foster Farms asked the STB Office of Public Assistance, Governmental Affairs and Compliance to resolve the situation.

Then, on July 1, the STB found that continued oversight of UP’s service to Foster Poultry was appropriate, and ordered UP for the remainder of the 30-day order to continue providing loaded and empty trains service to Foster Farms' Turlock and Traver facilities, issuing daily service reports and participating in weekly conferences with board staff.

Foster Farms on July 15 asked the board to extend the emergency order for another 90 days. UP, in a response filing with the STB, opposed the move, noting that it is "delivering more grain than Foster Farms can handle at the Traver and Turlock facilities."

In its decision, the STB said it has the authority to extend an emergency order if necessary, but in this case "the record does not show" that the service problems that prompted the initial order continue to exist.

At the same time, the board acknowledged Foster Farms' concerns about a recurrence of service problems and agreed to keep the case docket open for six months.

To read the STB's decision, click here.