BNSF, CSX, Norfolk Southern (NS) and Union Pacific (UP) have answered the Surface Transportation Board’s (STB) call to submit service recovery plans—identifying the steps they will take to clear congestion and improve service plus the metrics they will use to evaluate progress over the next six months.
CSX, Norfolk Southern (NS), and the Alabama State Port Authority and its Terminal Railway Alabama State Docks division (collectively, the Port) are again requesting Surface Transportation Board (STB)-sponsored mediation as they “continue to believe that an amicable resolution is possible—one that facilitates a prompt and orderly commencement of Gulf Coast passenger service while protecting the customers and shipping partners that rely on quality freight rail service.”
Once upon a time, conservative jurists were the best friends to federal regulatory agencies such as the Surface Transportation Board (STB). When those agencies pushed the boundaries of their decision-making independence, federal courts considered them experts in their field and accordingly deferred to their interpretations of the statutes they administered.
“The Class I railroads recognize that their recent service performance has not met many customers’ expectations,” the Association of American Railroads (AAR) wrote in a May 18 filing to the Surface Transportation Board (STB). But while the STB’s May 5 decision to release updated, more-comprehensive rules for reporting performance and employment metrics “reflects an understandable desire for quick action,” it was “not issued in a vacuum,” AAR pointed out.
At Railway Age’s Eighth Annual Rail Insights Conference, to be held virtually June 23, Surface Transportation Board Chair Martin J. Oberman will cover freight railroad service, reciprocal switching, supply chain congestion, labor shortages and Amtrak access—among the controversial issues the Board has been addressing during recent hearings.
AECOM, Skanska-Clyde Joint Venture and Obayashi Corporation have landed the final engineering and construction contracts for Uinta Basin Railway, slated to serve the mineral, energy, agricultural, construction and manufacturing industries in northeastern Utah.
The witness phase of the slugout between Amtrak on one side and CSX, Norfolk Southern (NS) and the Port of Mobile on the other, ended May 12 as its 11th day concluded. It ended not with T.S. Eliot’s oft-quoted “whimper” but truly with a bang.
The House Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure hearing, “Board Member Views on Surface Transportation Board Reauthorization,” was for the most part a rehash of the topics that the STB has been covering in its own hearings on freight rail service problems, reciprocal switching and other areas the industry has had to address in recent weeks. T&I Chairman Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), who is not seeking re-election in this year’s mid-terms, and Railroad, Pipelines and Hazardous Materials Subcommittee Chair Donald Payne Jr. (D-N.J.) chaired the hearing, which in a press release was couched as “The Surface Transportation Board’s Role in Resolving Freight Rail Conflicts.”
Timothy Strafford has been appointed a Partner for Steptoe & Johnson LLP’s Transportation Practice Group in Washington, D.C. He served most recently as Associate General Counsel and Corporate Secretary for the Association of American Railroads (AAR).
Norfolk Southern (NS) President and CEO Alan H. Shaw on May 12 discussed his railroad’s top priority—the restoration of service “to the quality our customers expect and deserve”—at an annual meeting of