Another Hearing Ordered for Northern Plains Rail, Grain Transport Issues

Another Hearing Ordered for Northern Plains Rail, Grain Transport Issues

Surface Transportation Board plans public hearing to discuss rail service problems in Northern Plains

The Surface Transportation Board this week said another hearing will be held to discuss ongoing rail service issues that have caused trouble for Northern Plains farmers looking to clear bins ahead of harvest time.

The public field hearing will be held September 4, 2014, at the Hilton Garden Inn in Fargo, N.D.

The purpose of the hearing, STB said, is to provide interested persons and parties the opportunity to report on service problems in the United States rail network, to hear from rail industry executives on their efforts to address service problems, and to discuss additional options to improve rail service.

Related: Rail Backlogs Fuel Grain Shipping, Storage Concerns Ahead of Harvest

Surface Transportation Board plans public hearing to discuss rail service problems in Northern Plains. (CP photo)

Both Canadian Pacific Railway Company and BNSF Railway Company are directed by the STB to appear at the hearing, and the agency also invites impacted shippers, other Class I railroads, and other affected carriers to appear.

The Board has been closely monitoring the rail industry's performance since service problems began last year, and has taken a number of actions, both formal and informal, to address those problems, the announcement said.

Another Hearing Ordered for Northern Plains Rail, Grain Transport Issues

Weekly grain car loadings, Aug. 14 USDA Grain Transportation Report

CP and BNSF are currently under orders to report back to the STB on rail transportation status per a directive issued earlier this year after an April hearing in Washington, D.C.

According to the USDA's Grain Transportation Report for Aug. 14, railcar loadings remain sluggish, though BNSF has reduced its past-due grain railcars to 3,492 cars, an improvement of 4,970 cars since June 26. At that rate, USDA says its backlog could be clear by September.

Related: Rail Car Shortage Impacts All Levels of Ag

CP is moving at a slower pace, the report said, and it is uncertain if the company will succeed in clearing backlogs by October.

Persons wishing to speak at the hearing should file with the Board a notice of intent to participate no later than August 25, 2014. The official participants will be posted to the STB's website when they are filed.

More details on the hearing are available on the Surface Transportation Board website.

Source: STB

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