SURFACE TRANSPORTATION BOARD DECISION DOCUMENT
    Decision Information

Docket Number:  
AB_565_1_X

Case Title:  
NEW YORK CENTRAL LINES, LLC--ABANDONMENT EXEMPTION--IN MIDDLESEX COUNTY, MA

Decision Type:  
Decision

Deciding Body:  
Director Of Proceedings

    Decision Summary

Decision Notes:  
DECISION GRANTS REQUESTS TO EXTEND THE NOTICE OF INTERIM TRAIL USE NEGOTIATING PERIOD UNTIL MAY 8, 2010, AND EXTENDED THE CONSUMMATION DEADLINE UNTIL JULY 7, 2010.

    Decision Attachments

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    Full Text of Decision

39993

40478                                   SERVICE DATE – DECEMBER 29, 2009

DO

 

SURFACE TRANSPORTATION BOARD

 

DECISION

 

STB Docket No. AB-565 (Sub-No. 1X)

 

NEW YORK CENTRAL LINES, LLC—ABANDONMENT EXEMPTION—IN

MIDDLESEX COUNTY, MA

 

Decided:  December 28, 2009

 

            By decision and notice of interim trail use or abandonment (NITU) served on October 12, 2001 (October 2001 decision), the Board, under 49 U.S.C. 10502, exempted from the prior approval requirements of 49 U.S.C. 10903 the abandonment by New York Central Lines, LLC (NYC) of 4.80 miles of railroad known as the Albany Division, Fitchburg Subdivision, extending from milepost QBS 0.00 at Framingham to milepost QBS 4.80 at South Sudbury, in Middlesex County, MA, subject to trail use, public use, and standard employee protective conditions.1  The October 2001 decision authorized the Town of Sudbury (Sudbury) to negotiate with the carrier for interim trail use/rail banking for the 1.4-mile portion of the line that extends north from the Framingham town line to the intersection of the former Penn Central Transportation Company line (Sudbury portion).  By decision served December 12, 2006, the Town of Framingham (Framingham) was authorized to negotiate with the carrier for interim trail use/rail banking for the 3.4-mile portion of the right-of-way that extends from milepost QBS 0.00 at Framingham to milepost QBS 3.40 at the Framingham town line (Framingham portion).  The NITU negotiating period was extended through November 9, 2009, for both the Sudbury and Framingham portions of the line by a series of decisions, the most recent of which was served on June 8, 2009.

 

The October 2001 decision stated that, if consummation had not been effected by the filing of a notice of consummation by October 12, 2002, and there were no legal or regulatory barriers to consummation, the authority to abandon would automatically expire.  By a series of decisions, the most recent of which was served on June 8, 2009, the consummation date for the entire 4.80-mile line was extended until January 8, 2010.

 

By letter filed on November 20, 2009, Framingham requests an extension of the NITU negotiating period for the Framingham portion of the line.[2]  By letter filed on December 1, 2009, Sudbury submits a request for a 180-day extension of the NITU negotiating period for the Sudbury portion of the line.  Sudbury states that CSXT and Sudbury have reached an agreement on the acquisition price regarding the NITU and the parties are entering into a Purchase and Sale Agreement shortly.[3]

 

By letter filed on December 8, 2009, CSXT states that it agrees with the proposed extension requests and supports an extension of the negotiating periods until May 8, 2010.  Additionally, in that same letter, CSXT seeks an extension of the consummation deadline until July 7, 2010, 60 days after the expiration date of the trail use negotiation period.[4]

 

Where, as here, the carrier has not consummated the abandonment at the end of the previously imposed negotiating period and has indicated its willingness to continue negotiations, the Board retains jurisdiction and the NITU negotiating period may be extended.[5]  Under the circumstances, further extension of the negotiating period is warranted.  See Birt v. STB, 90 F.3d 580, 588-90 (D.C. Cir. 1996); Grantwood Village v. Missouri Pac. R.R. Co., 95 F.3d 654, 659 (8th Cir. 1996).  Accordingly, the NITU negotiating period will be extended for an additional 180 days from the November 9, 2009, expiration date, until May 8, 2010.  Given the length of time the parties have had to negotiate a trail use agreement, the parties are urged to conclude their negotiations so that further extensions are not necessary.

 

This action will not significantly affect either the quality of the human environment or the conservation of energy resources.

 

It is ordered:

 

1.  The requests to extend the NITU negotiating period are granted.

 

2.  The NITU negotiating period is extended until May 8, 2010, for CSXT to negotiate with Framingham as to the 3.4-mile portion of the line between milepost QBS 0.00 and milepost QBS 3.40 and with Sudbury as to the 1.4-mile portion of the line between milepost QBS 3.40 and milepost QBS 4.80.

 

3.  The request for an extension of time to consummate the abandonment is granted, and the authority to abandon must be exercised on or before July 7, 2010.

 

4.  This decision is effective on the date of service.

 

By the Board, Rachel D. Campbell, Director, Office of Proceedings.



     1  Certain prior decisions or notices in this proceeding have embraced the related STB Docket No. AB-55 (Sub-No. 593X), CSX Transportation, Inc.—Discontinuance of Service Exemption―In Middlesex County, MA.  CSX Corporation, CSX Transportation, Inc.’s (CSXT) parent company, and Norfolk Southern Corporation jointly acquired control of Conrail Inc. and its wholly owned subsidiary, Consolidated Rail Corporation (Conrail).  As a result of that acquisition, certain assets of Conrail were assigned to NYC, which at the time was a wholly owned subsidiary of Conrail, to be exclusively operated by CSXT pursuant to an operating agreement.  The line authorized for abandonment in this proceeding is included among the property operated by CSXT pursuant to the NYC operating agreement.  CSXT is the successor to NYC.  See CSX Corp. et al.—Control—Conrail Inc. et al., STB Finance Docket No. 33388 (Sub-No. 94) (Supplemental Transaction) (STB served Nov. 7, 2003).

[2]  Framingham’s request for the NITU extension was in the form of a NITU request.

[3]  Sudbury states in its extension request that the 1.4-mile portion of the line extends from milepost QBS 3.40 to milepost QBS 4.90.  The correct mileposts are from milepost QBS 3.40 to milepost QBS 4.80, which makes the length of the line portion approximately 1.4 miles.  Additionally, Sudbury inadvertently calculated the 180-day extension of the NITU expiration date to be May 1, 2010, instead of May 8, 2010.

[4]  Under 49 CFR 1152.29(e)(2), a railroad may, for good cause shown, file a request for an extension of time to file a notice of consummation in abandonment proceedings.

            [5]  See Rail Abandonments—Supplemental Trails Act Procedures, 4 I.C.C. 2d 152, 157-58 (1987).