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12/12/2001



Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

STB seeks AAR's help in resolving interchange-delay issues


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Surface Transportation Board Dec. 10 sought help from Association of American Railroads in determining ways to resolve interchange disputes between railroads — especially Class Is and short lines.
The board asked AAR to organize meetings between railroads, shippers and other parties to address interchange-delay concerns, and make recommendations to STB by March 11.
STB's request arose from a dispute between Union Pacific Railroad and several small interchanging railroads — principally near Chicago — regarding charges the small rails impose on UP for delays in accepting cars for interchange. UP officials believe such charges can't be imposed unless all parties agree to the charges or STB authorizes the fees.
Board members note that STB could solve such disputes — and would, if necessary, resolve the UP case — but believe the national rail system best functions through good-faith cooperation among all roads, large and small.
"If we were to rule against UP and find that carriers aren't prohibited from unilaterally imposing interchange charges, the result could be a variety of charges … that would not be conducive to the cooperation necessary for a seamless, efficient national rail network," STB members claim, according to a prepared statement.


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