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New Orleans & Gulf Coast Railway Co. Inc. (NOGC) has filed a notice of exemption with the Surface Transportation Board (STB) to continue leasing and operating Union Pacific Railroad lines in Louisiana.Totaling 11.5 miles, the affected routes include seven miles of UP's mainline between Goldsboro and Westwego, and a 4.5-mile spur extending from Harvey Yard to Bayou Street in Harvey. NOGC interchanges with UP in Westwego.NOGC and UP recently entered into a supplemental agreement to their 2003 lease pact that adds the following provisions: the lease term is extended from Sept. 24, 2013, to Sept. 23, 2023, and NOGC is permitted to construct a new yard on the leased premises and assess a surcharge on all its traffic to undertake capital investments.NOGC has certified that the lease agreement contains a provision that may limit future interchanges at Westwego with a third-party connecting carrier. Although there's no direct connection to a third-party railroad, BNSF Railway Co. and New Orleans Public Belt Railroad lines are in close proximity to the leased routes, according to NOGC's STB filing.Owned by Rio Grande Pacific Corp., the 32-mile NOGC is the only railroad that operates east of Avondale, La., on the west bank of the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway.
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