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5/4/2004



Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

NS, CSX: STB should end formal oversight of the Conrail split



Five years is long enough. That's the message Norfolk Southern Corp.'s David Goode and CSX Corp.'s Michael Ward sent Surface Transportation Board members yesterday during a Washington, D.C., Conrail hearing.

Board members gathered feedback from railroads, shippers, government representatives and others on whether the STB should extend the Conrail integration's formal regulatory oversight period. When the board approved the Conrail split between NS and CSX in 1999, it mandated a five-year oversight period, which expires this year.

"The history of the past five years shows how the transaction has lived up to the board's expectations," said Goode, NS chairman, president and chief executive officer, during the hearing. "The transaction resulted in two competitively balanced rail systems serving the eastern United States [and] new rail-to-rail competition throughout the former Conrail territory."

STB's ordinary authority is "more than sufficient" to ensure the public good continues to be served, said Ward, CSX chairman and CEO, and CSX Transportation president.

"When you look at what has been achieved over the past five years — on behalf of our customers, short-line partners, employees and the public, as well as our own long-term growth — and then compare it to the objectives, it is clear the transaction has been a success," he said.

No party has cited a transactional or other issue that warrants extending the oversight period, so the board should not extend its formal oversight "and the periodic reporting requirements that go along with it," said Goode.


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