Is STB Facing Information Overload?

One might as well ask who threw the overalls in Mrs. Murphy’s chowder as to enquire what more the Surface Transportation Board (STB) might learn from additional public hearings on the question of whether railroads Canadian Pacific and Kansas City Southern should be permitted to merge, and under what conditions.


NEARS 2022 Conference: Day One Takeaways

At the NEARS (North East Association of Rail Shippers) Fall 2022 Conference, participants say they are still waiting to see consistency in rail service. Technical metrics are gradually improving, but in our view, fluidity will not show significant improvement until first-half 2023. On the first day of sessions (Sept. 21), many attendees expressed surprise that CSX reached outside the rail network for its new CEO. Also, Surface Transportation Board Chairman Martin Oberman foreshadowed a more proactive STB. Our key takeaways follow.

STB Sets 4Q22 Rail Cost Adjustment Factor

The Surface Transportation Board (STB) has adopted for fourth-quarter 2022 the rail cost adjustment factor (RCAF), defined as “an index formulated to represent changes in railroad costs incurred by the nation’s largest railroads over a specified period of time.”

The comment period for STB's Draft EIS for the proposed CP-KCS merger will be extended until October 14, 2022.

STB Extends Public Comment Period for Proposed CP-KCS Merger Draft EIS

In response to a request from “affected communities,” the Surface Transportation Board’s (STB) Office of Environmental Analysis (OEA) issued on Sept. 6 a notice extending the deadline for public comments on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the proposed acquisition of Kansas City Southern (KCS) by Canadian Pacific (CP) to Oct. 14.

(Photograph Courtesy of NS)

STB: Five Class I’s Revenue Adequate for 2021

The Surface Transportation Board (STB) has found five U.S. Class I railroads to be revenue adequate for 2021: BNSF, CSX, Norfolk Southern, Soo Line (the U.S. affiliate of Canadian Pacific) and Union Pacific. Railway Age Capitol Hill Contributing Editor Frank N. Wilner weighs in.


Is STB’s Primus in Rails’ Crosshairs?

The Senate Commerce Committee will hold a confirmation hearing Sept. 7 on President Biden’s nomination of Democrat Robert E. Primus to a second term on the Surface Transportation Board (STB). This is a preliminary step, requiring a subsequent vote among committee members whether to send the nomination forward to the entire Senate for consideration. The latter could be problematic, as will be explained.

Amtrak, CSX, NS, Port to STB: Extend Mediation

All parties in the Gulf Coast case are in agreement—on the extension of mediation. Amtrak on one side and CSX, Norfolk Southern (NS), and the Alabama State Port Authority and its Terminal Railway Alabama State Docks division (collectively, the Port) on the other are jointly calling on the Surface Transportation Board (STB) to order a 30-day extension.


STB Chided on Rail Revenue Constraint

When Congress partially deregulated railroad rates and practices in 1980 (Staggers Rail Act), it instructed regulators to consider revenue adequacy in determining the reasonableness of rail rates charged captive shippers—those lacking effective transportation alternatives to rail. More than four decades later, neither the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) nor its Surface Transportation Board (STB) successor have promulgated the intended regulatory rules.