Wednesday morning rail news:
Railroads granted exemption to trucking hours-of-service laws
The Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has granted railroads an exemption to the hours of service law for truck drivers. The Association of American Railroads and American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association had requested the exemption for their member railroads in August, seeking flexibility for maintenance workers who need to respond to an emergency [see “Digest: Rail associations seek exception to trucking hour-of-service laws,” Trains News Wire, Aug. 21, 2020]. On those grounds, the agency said in its summary of the action that “granting the associations’ application is likely to achieve a level of safety equivalent to or greater than the level of safety that would be obtained in the absence of the exemption.” Notice of the exemption is scheduled to be published today; the exemption will be effective until Dec. 18, 2025.
CN, CP must pay penalty for excessive grain earnings, Canadian agency rules
Canadian National and Canadian Pacific both exceeded the amount they are allowed to earn for Canadian grain revenue during the 2019-20 crop season and must pay the excessive amount plus a 5% penalty, the Canadian Transportation Agency reports. The agency, described on its website as an independent, quasi-judicial tribunal and economic regulator, says CN exceeded its Maximum Revenue Entitlement of $930,331,426 by $3,170,615, while CP exceeded its entitlement of $997,060,798 by $2,170,010. They must pay those amounts plus the penalty within 30 days, with the money going to the Western Grains Research Foundation. The complete ruling is here.
Nebraska community introduces ordinance to ban railcar storage
Nebraska City, Neb., has introduced an ordinance which could prevent car storage in the community. News Channel Nebraska reports Mayor Bryan Bequette introduced the ordinance that would prohibit parking “non-operating railroad cars,” saying, “We have it for junk cars. We have it for other things … if it’s junk sitting on rails sitting on tracks, its still unsightly junk that could be sitting there and left unattended.” The mayor said it was just coincidence that the ordinance comes as BNSF Railway is about to begin using the rail line through Nebraska City to supply a local power plant [see “Digest: DC Metro releases report …,” Trains News Wire, Dec. 11, 2020].