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STB to hold hearing April 10 on rail service problems

From the April 3, 2014 issue of Public Power Daily

Originally published April 3, 2014

By Robert Varela
Editorial Director

The U.S. Surface Transportation Board has scheduled a public hearing for April 10 on service problems that have been occurring across significant portions of the nation’s rail network, particularly on the Canadian Pacific and BNSF systems. The board’s April 1 hearing notice came one week after the Western Coal Traffic League (WCTL) petitioned the STB to institute a proceeding to address BNSF's alleged service failures.

The hearing at the STB’s Washington, D.C., offices is intended to provide shippers the opportunity to report on recent service problems, to hear from rail industry executives on plans to address their service problems, and to discuss additional options to improve service. The board "particularly encourages impacted shippers and/or shipper organizations to appear at the hearing to discuss their service concerns and to comment on the railroads’ plans."

BNSF's service problems have "reached crisis proportions for numerous BNSF coal transportation customers," the WCTL told the STB in a March 14 letter, adding that many of the league's members "fear they will run out of coal, if not now, by summer." Since that letter, "BNSF's service to its coal shippers is worsening as BNSF's service problems are spilling over to adversely impact the operations of other western carriers, including Union Pacific Railroad Company," the WCTL said in its petition.

The hearing notice is posted on the STB’s website.



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