Amtrak-CN Case Moves Forward at STB

Written by Marybeth Luczak, Executive Editor
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The Surface Transportation Board (STB) has issued a procedural schedule for Amtrak and CN to submit further evidence and arguments in their dispute over establishing reasonable terms and compensation for Amtrak to use the Class I railroad’s facilities and services.

The STB on March 3 released its decision (download below), following an AmtrakCN joint motion that asked for a procedural schedule to be set; mediation between the railroads failed.

On July 30, 2013, Amtrak filed an application under 49 U.S.C. § 24308(a)(2), asking STB “to establish reasonable terms and compensation for Amtrak’s use of the facilities (including rail lines) and services of Illinois Central Railroad Company and Grand Trunk Western Railroad Company (collectively, Canadian National Railway Company (CN)),” STB wrote in its decision. “After initial discovery, the parties submitted briefs, evidentiary filings, and various motions over a period of several years. On August 9, 2019, the Board issued interim findings and guidance and initiated Board-sponsored mediation … to facilitate further negotiation between the parties. Mediation was extended by decision served on November 14, 2019.”

The STB-appointed mediators on Jan. 22, 2020, told the agency that mediation had ended without a settlement.

In Amtrak and CN’s joint motion, filed on Jan. 25, 2022, they noted that “they have certified 20 of the 26 regularly scheduled daily Amtrak trains that operate over CN’s lines in the United States as being aligned with the Federal Railroad Administration’s (FRA) customer on-time performance metric. …” Additionally, CN has sought “non-binding dispute resolution” for the remaining six Amtrak train schedules, and the two railroads are “working to agree on that dispute resolution process.”

“The Board strives for the expeditious resolution of disputes before it, and the parties’ joint request to reactivate this proceeding will finally enable resolution of their long-running dispute,” STB wrote.

The agency adopted the following procedural schedule:

• May 2, 2022: Opening submissions due; each party’s submission should include a copy of the current operating agreement marked up to show the changes sought.

• July 1, 2022: Reply submissions due; these may include a revised markup of the current operating agreement.

• August 1, 2022: Rebuttal submissions due.

Once these filings are submitted, STB said it will determine whether oral arguments are required.

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