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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

STB re-schedules hearing on small-road abandonment procedures


Yesterday, the Surface Transportation Board postponed a hearing on proposed changes to small-road abandonment procedures until Aug. 31 at 10 a.m. (EDT). The hearing on "Class Exemption for Expedited Abandonment Procedure for Class II and Class III Railroads" originally was scheduled to be held Aug. 11.

Last year, more than 60 regionals and short lines petitioned the STB, proposing that board members develop a simplified procedure to facilitate the sale and preservation of low-density branch lines targeted for abandonment.

A new exemption — such as no longer requiring a carrier to prove a line isn't viable — would enable interested shippers and communities to promptly preserve a line. Under current board regulations, it might take shippers and municipalities years to overturn an abandonment proceeding, causing a line's traffic to diminish and track condition to deteriorate, small road officials believe.