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Home / News & Reviews / News Wire / BNSF and NS may seek trackage rights over KCS as part of CPKC merger

BNSF and NS may seek trackage rights over KCS as part of CPKC merger

By Bill Stephens | January 13, 2022

BNSF wants access to Laredo gateway, while NS aims to expand Meridian Speedway traffic

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Train with two locomotives and hopper cars on track parallelling street
Train with two locomotives and hopper cars on track parallelling street
With its rear end still on the International Railway Bridge in Laredo, Texas, a Kansas City Southern empty grain train rolls by the Union Pacific depot and yard in November 2017. UP is concerned about how a Canadian Pacific or Canadian National acquisition of KCS could affect its cross-border traffic at the Laredo gateway. (Bill Stephens)

WASHINGTON – BNSF Railway and Norfolk Southern may both seek trackage rights over Kansas City Southern routes in order to preserve competition as part of the proposed Canadian Pacific-KCS merger.

The railroads disclosed their intentions in regulatory filings posted today on the Surface Transportation Board website. The board’s deadline for such responsive applications is Feb. 28.

BNSF may ask the STB to grant trackage rights over KCS’s former Texas Mexican Railway between Robstown, Texas, and the Laredo gateway, the busiest rail border crossing in North America. BNSF currently interchanges cross-border traffic with KCS at Robstown.

BNSF also will seek trackage rights over KCS between Metro, Texas, north of Dallas-Fort Worth, and Bossier City, La., near Shreveport.

In addition, BNSF said it may seek trackage rights over CP’s main line between Savanna, Ill., and Clinton, Iowa.

NS said it would seek to protect and expand its rights to move traffic over the 320-mile Meridian Speedway, its joint venture with KCS between Meridian, Miss., and Shreveport, La.

NS currently has haulage rights over the Meridian Speedway for overhead intermodal traffic that originates or terminates west of Dallas and doesn’t originate or terminate at any point on KCS.

NS aims to modify this agreement to include premium boxcar and automotive traffic as well as intermodal, boxcar, and automotive traffic originating or terminating west of Shreveport rather than Dallas. NS also said it may seek trackage rights over KCS from Meridian to Dallas.

CSX Transportation and Union Pacific sought waivers from the STB that would allow them to file responsive applications despite not filing descriptions of anticipated responsive applications by the Jan. 12 deadline. CSX said it did not plan to file a responsive application, but that may change based on what conditions other railroads seek as part of the CPKC merger.

BNSF filing:

https://dcms-external.s3.amazonaws.com/DCMS_External_PROD/1642088192919/303514.pdf

NS filing:

https://dcms-external.s3.amazonaws.com/DCMS_External_PROD/1642083704095/303516.pdf

7 thoughts on “BNSF and NS may seek trackage rights over KCS as part of CPKC merger

  1. I’ve said from the start the CP Rail needs a better route from West Detroit to KCMO. That means working with NS.

  2. Amtrak and CP should oppose NS additional rights over the speedway. NS’s lack of moving trains from Meridian BHM and ATL shows their incompetence. NS in my opinion shows it has not hired enough T&E crews for that section for years even before C-19.

  3. I don’t think BNSF’s request for rights from Savanna to Clinton will bother CP much as it would allow both companies to abandon and remove the old DRI&NW bridge at Davenport. The request for rights from Robstown to Laredo would be opposed but perhaps not vehemently, because they are conditioned upon BNSF gaining a concession in Mexico, which if it happens would hurt CPKC traffic anyway. However the request for rights from Alliance(Metro Jct) to Bossier City will be opposed by both CPKC and UP.

    NS’s request will be totally opposed by both CPKC and UP, and even possibly BNSF.

    1. I should add that the STB will not impose any conditions upon CPKC that it thinks could cripple CPKC because it doesn’t want a mess of CP having to selloff KCS or have CPKC so weak that it can’t offer any competition to anybody. Having allowed CP to place KCS into trust, it almost certainly will allow the merger to happen. To do anything else could create big problems. I believe that the only conditions that will be imposed will be on gateways and the rates through them, and labor protective conditions. The one wildcard is the BNSF access to Laredo since it is conditional.

  4. The trackage rights between the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area and Bossier City, LA are interesting in that they would give BNSF another route for intermodal to Memphis and Atlanta from the west. They have trackage rights on UP already from Bossier City to Memphis. This would also make them competitive on shipments between DFW and Atlanta.

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