Commentary

Political Pedantry, NIMBY Nervousness, Maritime Mendaciousness

Recently, three filings with the Surface Transportation Board in opposition to the Canadian Pacific-Kansas City Southern merger application came across the transom that strike me as odd. One is from a California Congresswoman. The second (multiple letters, actually) is from a Chicago region group called The Coalition to Stop CPKC. The third—and strangest—is from three Federal Maritime Commissioners.

STB Sets 3Q22 RCAF

The Surface Transportation Board (STB) has set the third-quarter 2022 RCAF (Rail Cost Adjustment Factor), described as “an index formulated to represent changes in railroad costs incurred by the nation’s largest railroads over a specified period of time.”

CN, CSX Scuttle Massena Line Transaction (Updated With Commentary)

CSX and CN have mutually terminated their transaction in which CN would purchase CSX’s Montreal-Syracuse, N.Y., Massena Line and fold it into its Bessemer Subdivision, the former Bessemer & Lake Erie, which CN acquired in 2004 as part of its larger purchase of holding company Great Lakes Transportation.

STB Issues Emergency Service Order to UP

The Surface Transportation Board (STB) on June 17 directed Union Pacific (UP) to deliver on its commitment to move unit trains of corn from origins in the Midwest to California on behalf of Foster Poultry Farms, following the chicken and feed producer’s exparte petition for an emergency service order.

Commentary

STB Calls ‘Time Out’ in Mobile Slugfest. What’s Next?

Many have been waiting for the ongoing battle at the Surface Transportation Board (STB) between Amtrak on one side and CSX, Norfolk Southern and the Port of Mobile on the other (Docket No. FD-36496) to resume on Monday, June 13. The issue was how much infrastructure would have to be built before Amtrak can run two daily round trips between New Orleans and Mobile.

Oberman to ‘Big 4’: Recovery Plans ‘Woefully Deficient’

The Surface Transportation Board on June 13 issued an order directing the “Big 4” Class I’s—BNSF, CSX, Norfolk Southern and Union Pacific—to correct what STB says is “deficiencies in their rail service recovery plans” filed in response to the Board’s May 6 order requiring them to “develop service recovery plans as a result of the severe service deficits presently permeating their rail networks.”

Next Step in Gulf Coast Case: Mediation

The Surface Transportation Board (STB) on June 10 ordered Board-sponsored mediation in the Gulf Coast case between 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. CSX and Amtrak respond.

Commentary

STB Opts for Transparency Over Fiat

WATCHING WASHINGTON, RAILWAY AGE JUNE 2022 ISSUE: At a late April Surface Transportation Board (STB) hearing, up bobbed aggrieved shipper witnesses, one following another as hammers in a pianoforte, much as Charles Dickens (Bleak House) amusingly described the successive appearances in chancery of 18 attorneys.

CN to STB: New Amtrak OA Sought—on Our Terms

We recently reported on Amtrak’s request to the Surface Transportation Board (STB) to set terms and conditions for a new operating agreement (OA) between Amtrak and CN, as one of the host railroads whose lines Amtrak uses for its trains.

Amtrak to STB: We Want New Host Railroad Rules

The authority vested in the Surface Transportation Board (STB) to decide issues concerning passenger trains has been expanding lately. On May 27, Amtrak asked the Board to intervene in a dispute with Canadian National (CN) over a number of issues, including on-time performance (OTP), penalties for low performance, and incentives to improve performance.

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