• Bill to Strengthen STB Regulatory Powers.

  • For topics on Class I and II passenger and freight operations more general in nature and not specifically related to a specific railroad with its own forum.
For topics on Class I and II passenger and freight operations more general in nature and not specifically related to a specific railroad with its own forum.

Moderator: Jeff Smith

  by John_Perkowski
 
This in Trains. STB Reauthorization Act proposes to strengthen the Boards’ regulatory powers.

Brie, fair use quote
The Freight Rail Shipping Fair Market Act, introduced Tuesday, would give regulators more authority to deal with service emergencies, require railroads to include service standards in contracts with customers, and give shippers the ability to slap fees on railroads that delay privately owned freight cars.

The measure also orders the STB to regularly reevaluate what commodities are exempt from regulation, sets minimum service standards for shipments moving under tariffs, and provides clearer direction to the STB regarding disputes over railroads’ common carrier obligations.
Link: House bill would expand STB’s authority over railroad service, By Bill Stephens, August 2, 2022
  by eolesen
 
Indeed. With luck, the STB will see itself disbanded eventually... Legislation like this takes yet another step away from what deregulation was intended to do and back into a regulated industry.

There's no way railroads can compete as a regulated industry against Trucking and Air, both of which are deregulated and entirely hands-off from Congress.

Sent from my SM-G981U using Tapatalk

  by west point
 
Sorry but have to disagree with you,
Bus operators, truckers, barge operators, chip makers: all will have competiors that can opperate better service if they do not provide the best service. But railroads have captive shippers and receivers. As well they increase tarrifs unreasonabley on a moments notice.

RRs have proved that they will screw the customer at a drop of a hat. RR are doing it now and may not get awway with it anymore if bill passes . Any time there is no competition with any monoply the ,monoply has to have their monoply contained. Just look what is happening in Texas utility rates where the wild west screwing of customers is happening, Look at overseas monoplys such as chip makers. Who does not suffers at hands of any monoply? I would like to know who.
  by BandA
 
Both railroads and NIMBYs are taking advantage of the way the STB works, twisting, distorting and perverting the rules and laws in ways that make no common sense. There is a great need for overhaul of the STB and anti-trust regulations in general. But the federal government is more incompetent and politicized than ever.

The way the history of RR regulation appears to have worked, railroads were built, stockholders were fleeced, robber-barons came in and created monopolies and cartels. Then electric streetcars, then automobiles and trucks came in and started to eat the RRs alive. Then congress came in with heavy-handed ICC regulation to fix the robber-barons...but it was about 30 years too late. Railroads collapsed. Railroad package express service collapsed. Passenger service collapsed. Thousands of miles of railroad ROW were destroyed, passenger infrastructure was destroyed. Critical yards were sold off to developers. Then congress came forward with reform, Staggers Act, STB replaced ICC, etc. But again it was ~~30 years too late for the NYC, NH, PC, etc.
  by Gilbert B Norman
 
I wonder why my '60 vintage High School level US History teacher was very quick to note to me "the railroads are paying for their past sins".

Must this industry again suffer?
  by Gilbert B Norman
 
So long as there are two rates charged be the car LD or MTY, imposing detention charges against railroads for unreasonable delays of privately owned cars (any car with an ---X reporting mark, i.e., GATX) seems "fair and square". Such charges are imposed upon shippers/consignees if they do so.

Now if a railroad owned car sits on a foreign road or with a shipper/consignee - and becomes an "easel" rather than earning revenue handling freight - that charge against either a customer or road is known as "Demurrage".

Lest such be of interest, here is the etymology of the term:
Middle English (in the sense ‘linger, delay’): from Old French demourer (verb), demeure (noun), based on Latin de- ‘away, completely’ + morari ‘delay’.
  by west point
 
Is demurge included in OR? If so reverse demurge charged to OR will emay be a wake up call to the RRs. No derugulation of RRs as they will really operate as a monoply. I am not sure if the US DOJ is completely isolated from anti trust action agains RR.? Businesses and other can intiate an anti trust complaint but is probably very expensive.

What actions do you claim is not manoplyistic by the RRs?
  by newpylong
 
west point wrote: Wed Aug 03, 2022 1:48 pm Sorry but have to disagree with you,
Bus operators, truckers, barge operators, chip makers: all will have competiors that can opperate better service if they do not provide the best service. But railroads have captive shippers and receivers. As well they increase tarrifs unreasonabley on a moments notice.

RRs have proved that they will screw the customer at a drop of a hat. RR are doing it now and may not get awway with it anymore if bill passes . Any time there is no competition with any monoply the ,monoply has to have their monoply contained. Just look what is happening in Texas utility rates where the wild west screwing of customers is happening, Look at overseas monoplys such as chip makers. Who does not suffers at hands of any monoply? I would like to know who.
Quite unrealistic comparisons for which there is really is no comparison possible. "Bus operators, truckers, barge operators, chip makers, etc", none of those own and have to pay for 100% of the entire delivery means to the customer.

Why shouldn't the business that owns and has the sole responsibility of paying for and maintaining the infrastructure have a monopoly?

If a customer has an issue they can do what everyone else does, pick up and move. I do think customers should be due basic protections but it's a slippery slope.

There is zero need for railroad regulatory reform in this country. What rhe railroads DO need to do is get together with the Unions and toss aside the current labor practices which aren't working any longer. Why would a young man with two kids want to go work 70 hours a week outside, away from home for 3 nights/week when he can go work at the DOT or a factory for a similar $/hr and actually have a life? Of course they can't find anyone...

We can regulate to the end of the earth but if the railroads can't move the freight then it helps no one.
  by justalurker66
 
newpylong wrote: Sun Aug 07, 2022 11:46 amIf a customer has an issue they can do what everyone else does, pick up and move. I do think customers should be due basic protections but it's a slippery slope.
"Pick up and move" multi-million or billion dollar plants? Even if that were possible it isn't as easy as typing the words. Tell the cities, counties and states that it is OK that their tax base and employment can "pick up and move" because a railroad won't adequately serve the business in their current location.

The "pick up and move" concept also fails because there is no place to move to that is outside of the monopoly. The railroads have a monopoly where they are permitted to collude to write contracts that keep their shared monopoly strong. Want to move from a CSX served site to an NS served site? Spend millions/billions to move the facility and hire and train new employees and still not get better service. The same applies with a pickup and move between BNSF and UP served sites - or between any pairing.

As long as the railroads are permitted to collude they need to be heavily regulated to make sure they are not using their government granted monopoly to harm the industries they are supposed to be serving or harm their employees or harm the communities where they and the industries they "serve" operate and pay taxes.

Pick up and move is not a valid option.
  by R36 Combine Coach
 
eolesen wrote: Wed Aug 03, 2022 10:39 am Indeed. With luck, the STB will see itself disbanded eventually...
The ICC was disbanded and its regulatory authority repealed, but when the ICC repeal act was approved, the
STB was included in the final bill as a safeguards of sorts.

Motor carriers (truckers and bus lines) were deregulated from the ICC in the early 1980s and with the ICC fully
repealed they only are subject to USDOT (registration and safety purposes), however many states still require
passenger and/or freight carriers to have tariffs for intrastate and local service on file with the state's public
utility commissioner(*).

(*)Note: In Hawaii, since roads are not connected to the 48 mainland states, the transportation network is isolated
and all truck and bus carriers are intrastate under the Hawaii PUC and not subject to U.S. DOT.
  by newpylong
 
justalurker66 wrote: Sun Aug 07, 2022 12:07 pm
newpylong wrote: Sun Aug 07, 2022 11:46 amIf a customer has an issue they can do what everyone else does, pick up and move. I do think customers should be due basic protections but it's a slippery slope.
"Pick up and move" multi-million or billion dollar plants? Even if that were possible it isn't as easy as typing the words. Tell the cities, counties and states that it is OK that their tax base and employment can "pick up and move" because a railroad won't adequately serve the business in their current location.

The "pick up and move" concept also fails because there is no place to move to that is outside of the monopoly. The railroads have a monopoly where they are permitted to collude to write contracts that keep their shared monopoly strong. Want to move from a CSX served site to an NS served site? Spend millions/billions to move the facility and hire and train new employees and still not get better service. The same applies with a pickup and move between BNSF and UP served sites - or between any pairing.

As long as the railroads are permitted to collude they need to be heavily regulated to make sure they are not using their government granted monopoly to harm the industries they are supposed to be serving or harm their employees or harm the communities where they and the industries they "serve" operate and pay taxes.

Pick up and move is not a valid option.
"Government Granted Monopoly". Do you see anyone else trying to build a new Class I? They are an existential monopoly by default, not by intent.

The type or regulation you speak of was touched upon when I said "basic protections".

The "pick up and move" concept works for all but the largest customers, and everyone has another option even if more costly: trucks.

The railroads do receive some public funds but nowhere near in comparison to having the entire delivery path owned by someone else (as in the case of trucking). You start dicking with regulations, the railroads won't have a leg to stand on.
  by Gilbert B Norman
 
Messrs. Lurker and Newpy, we must accept that it is old as railroads themselves that there are some shippers, totally, or as good as, dependent on rail largely within the agricultural and mining industries at some locations. As I traveled about "my MILW" in the line of duty, such became quite evident to me.

But, as "Ol' Blue Eyes" crooned away, "That's Life"

However, in all fairness, I think the Surfboard "has gone out of their way" during the '90's merger movement (not an issue at present with either KCS-CP or CSX-PAR as both are "end to end") to ensure that there were two roads serving any major traffic source. Such was the case with BNSF being granted both ratemaking and trackage over the entire D&RGW in the course of the latter's merger with the UP. Another example is the ratemaking access that BNSF was granted to a Toyota assembly plant in Bexar County, TX (near San Antonio). This facility is clearly on the T&NO, yet the Board gave full access to BNSF so Toyota has two roads making rates to handle the Tundra's coming off the line and the parts coming in from which they are built.

With the CSX and NS "chopping up Conrail" (let's ignore the issue of why it was deemed necessary to chop up a perfectly viable road), Shared Assets was formed (it's actually the remnants of Conrail's corporate entity) to enable any industry in NY, Phila, and Detroit regions equal ratemaking and service access to CSX and NS.

In the Southeast, there really wasn't an issue as both systems accessed major maritime traffic sources. some, such as Mobile and New Orleans even have three with CN having access as well.

I think the Florida maritime ports such as Miami are hurt by having only one road serving them. Likely not at present considering how vessels are awaiting berths, but I think that condition is alleviating nationwide, and I think will hurt the Florida ports served by one road. That mainly means Tampa as the FEC's interests serving Miami and Ft. Lauderdale are best served having Jacksonville an "open gateway" making interline rates and interchanges with both CSX and NS without prejudice.
  by markhb
 
Gilbert B Norman wrote: Wed Aug 03, 2022 8:16 pm I wonder why my '60 vintage High School level US History teacher was very quick to note to me "the railroads are paying for their past sins".

Must this industry again suffer?
I was going to say, the way I remember American History being taught when I was in school (say, a couple of decades after Mr. Norman's given date), in the post-Civil War Westward Expansion story the railroads were the villains.