Discussion relating to the operations of MTA MetroNorth Railroad including west of Hudson operations and discussion of CtDOT sponsored rail operations such as Shore Line East and the Springfield to New Haven Hartford Line

Moderators: GirlOnTheTrain, nomis, FL9AC, Jeff Smith

  by jamoldover
Actually, there is some news. It looks like MNCR has asked the STB to partially revoke the exemption from STB authority that was applied to the Beacon Line by the ICC back in 1995 so that MNCR can then follow the proper process for formal abandonment/railbanking.
  by Jeff Smith
https://dcms-external.s3.amazonaws.com/ ... 307697.pdf

Metro-North Commuter Railroad Company (“MNR”) hereby submits this Verified Notice
of Exemption of Abandonment pursuant to 49 U.S.C. § 10502 and the Board’s regulations at 49 C.F.R.
§ 1152.50. This Verified Notice concerns MNR’s planned abandonment of the 41.1 miles of a rail
line known as the “Beacon Line” that runs between Milepost 0.0 and Milepost 71.2 in Dutchess
and Putnam Counties, New York (“Line”). The Line traverses through United States Postal Zip
Codes 12508, 12524, 12533, 12582, 12570, 12531, 12563, 10509, and 12564. MNR intends to
railbank the Line.
HRRC, the sole freight operator on the Line, filed a Notice of Exemption to discontinue its
trackage rights over the Line, which the Board accepted on February 14, 2023. See Housatonic
Railroad Company, Inc. – Discontinuance of Service – Dutchess and Putnam Counties, N.Y., STB
Docket No. AB 733 (Sub-No. 1X) (served Feb. 17, 2023). Subsequently, this Board approved the
request of MNR for partial revocation of the exemption issued in 1995 in order to permit MNR to
seek abandonment of the Beacon Line. STB Finance Docket No. 32639 (Sub-No. 1), Metro-North
Commuter Railroad Company—Acquisition Exemption—The Maybrook Line (Service Date
November 22, 2023).
As noted below, MNR anticipates that a request for interim trail use will be made pursuant
to the Board’s regulations so that the Line will be rail banked.
  by Jeff Smith
https://dcms-external.s3.amazonaws.com/ ... /52047.pdf
Docket No. AB 1311 (Sub-No. 1X)
Decided: February 8, 2024
Metro-North Commuter Railroad Company (MNR) filed a verified notice of exemption
under 49 C.F.R. part 1152 subpart F—Exempt Abandonments to abandon an approximately
41.1-mile rail line that runs between milepost 0.0 and milepost 71.2, in Dutchess and Putnam
Counties, N.Y. (the Line).1 Notice of the exemption was served and published in the Federal
Register on January 10, 2024 (89 Fed. Reg. 1622).2 The exemption is scheduled to become
effective on February 9, 2024.
On January 23, 2024, MNR late-filed a request for a notice of interim trail use or
abandonment (NITU) to establish interim trail use/rail banking on the Line under the Trails Act.3
MNR’s request complies with the requirements of 49 C.F.R. § 1152.29, and, therefore, a
NITU will be issued.4 Here, because MNR is both the owner of the Line and the trail sponsor,
the negotiations that normally take place to reach a trail use agreement as contemplated under
49 C.F.R. § 1152.29 may not be needed. However, to fulfill the purpose of “ensur[ing]that the
agency and the public have accurate information on the status of property where a [NITU] has
been issued,” Nat’l Trails Sys. Act & R.R. Rts.-of-Way, EP 702, slip op. at 9 (STB served
Feb. 16, 2011), MNR will be required, prior to the expiration of the NITU period prescribed
below, to file with the Board a notice confirming that it is implementing interim trail use/rail
banking on the Line (or a portion thereof) and including all the other information otherwise
required under 49 C.F.R. § 1152.29(h). If MNR does not implement interim trail use/rail
banking within one year, MNR may fully abandon the Line, subject to any outstanding
conditions. See 49 C.F.R. § 1152.29(d)(1). Use of the right-of-way is subject to possible future
reconstruction and reactivation of the right-of-way for rail service.
It is ordered:
1. This proceeding is reopened.
2. MNR’s motion for leave to late-file its NITU request is granted.
3. Upon reconsideration, the notice served and published in the Federal
Register on January 10, 2024, exempting the abandonment of the Line described above is
modified to the extent necessary to permit the issuance of a NITU to MNR to implement interim
trail use/rail banking as set forth below.
4. If MNR implements interim trail use/rail banking, it must assume, for the term of the
trail use, full responsibility for: (i) managing the right-of-way; (ii) any legal liability arising out
of the transfer or use of the right-of-way (unless the sponsor is immune from liability, in which
case it need only indemnify the railroad against any potential liability), and (iii) the payment of
any and all taxes that may be levied or assessed against the right-of-way.
5. Interim trail use/rail banking is subject to possible future reconstruction and
reactivation of the right-of-way for rail service and to MNR’s continuing to meet its
responsibilities for the right-of-way described in paragraph 4 above.
6. If MNR decides to implement trail use, MNR shall notify the Board within 10 days
that it has done so. See 49 C.F.R. § 1152.29(d)(2), (h).
7. If interim trail use is implemented, and subsequently MNR intends to terminate trail
use on all or any portion of the right-of-way that is designated for trail use, it must send the
Board a copy of this decision and notice and request that it be vacated on a specified date.
8. If MNR files the notice described in paragraph 6 by February 8, 2025, interim trail use
may be implemented. If it does not, MNR may fully abandon the Line, subject to any
outstanding conditions.
9. This decision and notice is effective on its service date.
  by Jeff Smith
Trail Study: Mid-Hudson News
Study of Beacon-Hopewell rail trail underway
“We successfully encouraged the county to consider expanding the rail trail system with Metro-North’s Beacon Line, which runs from our train station, along Fishkill Creek, Main Street and Route 52 and then north to Hopewell that connects to the Empire State rail system all the way to Buffalo and the Canadian border,” he said. “Dutchess County Planning has kicked off a feasibility study at our request and so we are expecting that to be the start of an exciting decade-long project.”
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