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Rail News: Short Lines & Regionals
Reading & Northern to appeal court decision on rail authority’s RFP
The Reading, Blue Mountain and Northern Railroad (R&N) last week announced its intention to appeal a county court’s decision that granted summary judgment to the SEDA-COG Joint Rail Authority (JRA) regarding the solicitation of an operating agreement for the authority’s short lines.
R&N challenged the first phase of a request for proposals (RFP), which was issued by the JRA in 2014 seeking qualified operators for its rail lines.
On Oct. 17, the Northumberland County Court of Common Pleas awarded summary judgment in favor of the JRA in a lawsuit filed by R&N against the authority and other proposers in the RFP process. The court’s decision dismissed all open claims in the case.
The court dismissed the railroad’s case without giving any credence to the evidence and arguments based on information taken from more than 20 depositions, and ignored several facts, such as that the JRA turned over the RFP process and decision-making to a subgroup with a bias toward the current rail carrier, North Shore Railroad Co., R&N officials said in a press release.
“We are disappointed but not surprised by the court’s decision, which ignores all of our arguments and evidence. The court has consistently ruled in favor of the local rail authority and it has been clear since the beginning of the case that we would need to seek relief at the appellate level,” said R&N President Wayne Michel.
The short line’s leaders are encouraged about the prospects of their appeal since the case will move to a more neutral forum instead of a local court, they said.
“[We] look forward to having [our] day in court as to the JRA’s illegal competition with private industry and to showcase to the appellate court what the trail judge chose to ignore: the overwhelming evidence of bias and corruption that infected the entire process,” R&N officials said.
Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.