Title 49

SECTION 1152.21

1152.21 Form of notice.

§ 1152.21 Form of notice.

The Notice of Intent to abandon or to discontinue service shall be in the following form:

STB No. AB ___(Sub-No. ___) Notice of Intent To Abandon or To Discontinue Service

(Name of Applicant) gives notice that on or about (insert date application will be filed with the Board) it intends to file with the Surface Transportation Board, Washington, DC 20423, an application for permission for the abandonment of (the discontinuance of service on), a line of railroad known as ___ extending from railroad milepost near (station name) to (the end of line or rail milepost) near (station name), which traverses through United States Postal Service ZIP Codes (ZIP Codes), a distance of ___ miles, in [County(ies), State(s)]. The line includes the stations of (list all stations on the line in order of milepost number, indicating milepost location). The reason(s) for the proposed abandonment (or discontinuance) is (are) ___ (explain briefly and clearly why the proposed action is being undertaken by the applicant). Based on information in our possession, the line (does) (does not) contain federally granted rights-of-way. Any documentation in the railroad's possession will be made available promptly to those requesting it. This line of railroad has appeared on the system diagram map or included in the narrative in category 1 since (insert date).

The interest of railroad employees will be protected by (specify the appropriate conditions). The application will include the applicant's entire case for abandonment (or discontinuance) (case in chief). Any interested person, after the application is filed on (insert date), may file with the Surface Transportation Board written comments concerning the proposed abandonment (or discontinuance) or protests to it. These filings are due 45 days from the date of filing of the application. All interested persons should be aware that following any abandonment of rail service and salvage of the line, the line may be suitable for other public use, including interim trail use. Any request for a public use condition under 49 U.S.C. 10905 (§ 1152.28 of the Board's rules) and any request for a trail use condition under 16 U.S.C. 1247(d) (§ 1152.29 of the Board's rules) must also be filed within 45 days from the date of filing of the application. Persons who may oppose the abandonment or discontinuance but who do not wish to participate fully in the process by appearing at any oral hearings or by submitting verified statements of witnesses, containing detailed evidence, should file comments. Persons interested only in seeking public use or trail use conditions should also file comments. Persons opposing the proposed abandonment or discontinuance that do wish to participate actively and fully in the process should file a protest. Protests must contain that party's entire case in opposition (case in chief) including the following:

(1) Protestant's name, address and business.

(2) A statement describing protestant's interest in the proceeding including:

(i) A description of protestant's use of the line;

(ii) If protestant does not use the line, information concerning the group or public interest it represents; and

(iii) If protestant's interest is limited to the retention of service over a portion of the line, a description of the portion of the line subject to protestant's interest (with milepost designations if available) and evidence showing that the applicant can operate the portion of the line profitably, including an appropriate return on its investment for those operations.

(3) Specific reasons why protestant opposes the application including information regarding protestant's reliance on the involved service [this information must be supported by affidavits of persons with personal knowledge of the fact(s)].

(4) Any rebuttal of material submitted by applicant.

In addition, a commenting party or protestant may provide a statement of position and evidence regarding:

(i) Intent to offer financial assistance pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 10904;

(ii) Environmental impact;

(iii) Impact on rural and community development;

(iv) Recommended provisions for protection of the interests of employees;

(v) Suitability of the properties for other public purposes pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 10905; and

(vi) Prospective use of the right-of-way for interim trail use and rail banking under 16 U.S.C. 1247(d) and § 1152.29.

A protest may demonstrate that: (1) the protestant filed a feeder line application under 49 U.S.C. 10907; (2) the feeder line application involves any portion of the rail line involved in the abandonment or discontinuance application; (3) the feeder line application was filed prior to the date the abandonment or discontinuance application was filed; and (4) the feeder line application is pending before the Board.

Written comments and protests will be considered by the Board in determining what disposition to make of the application. The commenting party or protestant may participate in the proceeding as its interests may appear.

If an oral hearing is desired, the requester must make a request for an oral hearing and provide reasons why an oral hearing is necessary. Oral hearing requests must be filed with the Board no later than 10 days after the application is filed.

Those parties filing protests to the proposed abandonment (or discontinuance) should be prepared to participate actively either in an oral hearing or through the submission of their entire opposition case in the form of verified statements and arguments at the time they file a protest. Parties seeking information concerning the filing of protests should refer to § 1152.25.

Written comments and protests, including all requests for public use and trail use conditions, should indicate the proceeding designation STB No. AB ___ (Sub-No. ___) and must be filed with the Chief, Section of Administration, Office of Proceedings, Surface Transportation Board, Washington, DC 20423-0001, no later than (insert the date 45 days after the date applicant intends to file its application). Interested persons may file a written comment or protest with the Board to become a party to this abandonment (or discontinuance) proceeding. A copy of each written comment or protest shall be served upon the representative of the applicant (insert name, address, and phone number). Every comment or protest shall be filed with the Board with a certificate of service. Except as otherwise set forth in part 1152, each document filed with the Board must be served on all parties to the abandonment proceeding. 49 CFR 1104.12(a).

The line sought to be abandoned (or discontinued) will be available for subsidy or sale for continued rail use, if the Board decides to permit the abandonment (or discontinuance), in accordance with applicable laws and regulations (49 U.S.C. 10904 and 49 CFR 1152.27). No subsidy arrangement approved under 49 U.S.C. 10904 shall remain in effect for more than 1 year unless otherwise mutually agreed by the parties (49 U.S.C. 10904(f)(4)(B)). Applicant will promptly provide upon request to each interested party an estimate of the subsidy and minimum purchase price required to keep the line in operation. The carrier's representative to whom inquiries may be made concerning sale or subsidy terms is (insert name and business address). Persons seeking further information concerning abandonment procedures may contact the Surface Transportation Board or refer to the full abandonment or discontinuance regulations at 49 CFR part 1152. Questions concerning environmental issues may be directed to the Board's Office of Environmental Analysis.

A copy of the application will be available for public inspection on or after (insert date abandonment application is to be filed with Board) at each agency station or terminal on the line proposed to be abandoned or discontinued [if there is no agency station on the line, the application shall be deposited at any agency station through which business for the line is received or forwarded (insert name, address, location, and business hours)]. The carrier shall furnish a copy of the application to any interested person proposing to file a protest or comment, upon request.

An environmental assessment (EA) (or environmental impact statement (EIS), if necessary) prepared by the Office of Environmental Analysis will be served upon all parties of record and upon any agencies or other persons who commented during its preparation. Any other persons who would like to obtain a copy of the EA (or EIS) may contact the Office of Environmental Analysis. EAs in these abandonment proceedings normally will be made available within 33 days of the filing of the application. The deadline for submission of comments on the EA will generally be within 30 days of its service. The comments received will be addressed in the Board's decision. A supplemental EA or EIS may be issued where appropriate.

[75 FR 30712, June 2, 2010, as amended at 83 FR 15079, Apr. 9, 2018; 84 FR 12945, Apr. 3, 2019]