• Aquiring Trackage Rights From Class 1 Railroads?

  • A general discussion about shortlines, industrials, and military railroads
A general discussion about shortlines, industrials, and military railroads

Moderator: Aa3rt

  by ChicagoSub25
I Have Always Wondered, Why Does A Class 1 Railroad Give Up So Many Tracks For Shortlines, When Shortlines Ask For Tracks, Does The Class 1 Railroad Have To Give It Up?
  by SemperFidelis
There's a process that they have to go through with the FRA. More often than not, the FRA does not compell the Class 1 to offer trackage rights, but it does happen sometimes. Generally a Class 1 will only grant trackage rights when they can eliminate a crew by allowing the shortline to operate to a yard or wherever. The Class 1s I've worked with are not the easiest folks in the world to even get discussing trackage rights for services and industries that they themselves (the Class 1s) refuse to effectively service, even over low density lines where the shortline would not be obtrusive.

I've had the FRA intervene a few times in a sort of mediation process so neither the shortline nor the Class 1 needs to spend tens of thousands of dollars on filings and lawyer's costs. Sometimes the Class 1s are receptive, other times they are quite stubborn, even if it would mean more revenue over nearly usused trackage. I think we all have our opinions about how Class 1s operate, but it's their business and their track, so I try not to hold it against them.

I'm sure someone knows a heck of a lot more about the process than I do. I'm only speaking from experience.
  by wigwagfan
Actually it's the Surface Transportation Board, not the FRA, that would regulate trackage rights. I'd recommend you look at the STB's website for decisions:

http://www.stb.dot.gov/decisions/readin ... e?openform

You can scroll down the list and read the various types of filings with the STB which will also include trackage rights (sometimes permanent, sometimes temporary).

With regards to a Class II/III railroad requesting rights from a Class I railroad - one thing is for certain, the operating unions for the Class I will come out in force against it. Why? Because most Class II/III railroads are non-union, and the Class I operating union sees it as encroaching on their work territory. If the Class II/III railroad happens to be union, their employees are likely paid less (and thus the Class I could use the arrangement to replace higher paid workers with lower paid workers, probably from members of other unions.) However the STB routinely rules against the Union.

Does the Class I have to give up rights? No. It's private property and the Class I doesn't have to allow anyone access to its property. But clearly trackage rights often can benefit both parties, or the Class I is willing to work with the other railroad for some other reason (financial/money, "you scratch my back, I scratch your back" - which is usually the two Class Is requesting trackage rights from each other).

Here's a good example of what you are looking for:

http://www.stb.dot.gov/home.nsf/case?op ... FD_34883_0 (this is a request for trackage rights between Salem and Portland on the UP mainline, which allows P&W to more efficiently run a former BNSF train between BNSF's yard in Vancouver, Washington to P&W's former BNSF yard in Albany, Oregon.)
  by SemperFidelis
Yes, my mistake. I used the wrong acronym. STB is correct, not FRA. Sorry about the confusion.