Capdiamont\’s Weblog


STB decides two NWP cases.
Saturday 2 Feb 2008, 11:51
Filed under: NCRA, Railroad, SMART | Tags:

1st friend of eel river (FOER) looses in it’s petition to revoke the notice of exemption by the NWP, told you so. The other SMART is incompetent in filing a change in operator. Or was it done deliberately?

FOER decision, and PDF.

However, as explained in Stay Decision, the 100 percent threshold does not apply where there recently have been no operations over a rail line. See Missouri Central Railroad Company—Acquisition and Operation Exemption—Lines of Union Pacific Railroad Company, STB Finance Docket No. 33508, et al., slip op. at 7 (STB served Apr. 30, 1998), aff’d sub nom. Lee’s Summit, Mo. v. STB, 231 F.3d 39 (D.C. Cir. 2000). Thus, the 100 percent threshold does not apply in this case, in which there have been no operations over the line in recent years (except for a 1.5-mile segment over which Mendocino has authority to operate). And, because only three round-trip trains will be operated per week, NWPCO’s operations will not exceed the eight trains per day threshold for environmental review, which is the applicable threshold when there have been no operations over a rail line. 49 CFR 1105.7(e)(5)(i)(C).

SMART decision and pdf.

On March 20, 2006, Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit District (SMART) filed a verified notice of exemption under 49 CFR 1150.41 to acquire and operate 15.56 miles of rail line owned by Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District (Bridge District), County of Marin (County), and Marin County Transit District (Transit District) between NWP milepost 26.96 in Novato, CA, and NWP milepost 11.4 in Corte Madera, CA (the Line).[1] SMART states that it is legally authorized to operate passenger rail service on the Line but would not provide freight rail service on it. SMART states that, in 2005, it reached an agreement to buy the Line and also to buy real estate in Cloverdale, CA, between NWP milepost 84.42 and NWP milepost 84.86. Board staff has repeatedly asked SMART for clarification of the notice with respect to what entity has or would have responsibility for providing freight service over the portion of the Line that remains under the Board’s jurisdiction. SMART has not filed any clarification or response to date.

The notice of exemption will be rejected. First, SMART fails to identify specifically what entity has the common carrier obligation to provide freight service over the Line and from which it would acquire that common carrier obligation.[2] Second, Board authority to acquire a rail line involves the obligation to operate freight as well as passenger service over a line. SMART states that it would not fulfill that obligation because it would not provide freight service over the Line and it fails to identify any entity that could or would provide such service.

In addition, a subsequent notice filed by an entity named “Northwestern Pacific Railroad Company” provides some information concerning the portion of the Line between NWP milepost 26.96 near Novato and NWP milepost 25.6 near Ignacio. This filing appears to indicate that, at the time SMART filed its notice, the entity with the common carrier obligation on the Novato – Ignacio segment was Northwestern Pacific Railway Co., LLC (NWPY). See Northwestern Pacific Railroad Company—Change in Operators Exemption—North Coast Railroad Authority, Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit District and Northwestern Pacific Railway Co., LLC, STB Finance Docket No. 35073 (STB served Aug. 30, 2007) (Change in Operators). SMART has neither disclosed NWPY’s common carrier status on the Novato – Ignacio segment nor provided notice that the entity with the common carrier obligation on the Novato – Ignacio segment either has changed or soon will change to Northwestern Pacific Railroad Company pursuant to Change in Operators.[3]

Advertisements
Comments Off on STB decides two NWP cases.





Comments are closed.



%d bloggers like this: