The STB issues an emergency service order to UP

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Written by

Marybeth Luczak, Editor-in-Chief

Le 17 juin, le Surface Transportation Board (STB) a ordonné à Union Pacific (UP) de respecter son engagement de déplacer des trains unitaires de maïs des origines du Midwest vers la Californie au nom de Foster Poultry Farms, à la suite de la pétition exparte from the chicken and feed producer for an emergency service order.

According to the Livingston, Calif., California-based June 15 petition, AT THE TOP transports corn to Foster’s facilities in 100-car unit trains, where it is processed into cornmeal for animal feed. “La pétition allègue que les pannes de service ont commencé en février 2022 et que Foster Farms … a engagé le Bureau de l’assistance publique, des affaires gouvernementales et de la conformité (OPAGAC) du Conseil pour résoudre la situation”, a écrit le Council in its decision of 17 June (download below). «Selon Foster Farms, une ordonnance de service d’urgence est nécessaire pour atténuer les dommages causés à son entreprise et au bétail de la volaille, des produits laitiers et de la cour d’alimentation qui dépendent de la distribution de farine de maïs fournie par Foster Farms. … Foster Farms déclare en outre que le maïs livré par UP est du maïs exclusivement utilisé pour nourrir des centaines de milliers de bovins et des millions de poulets qui fournissent de la nourriture et que les défaillances de service d’UP ont un impact sur la capacité of Foster Farms to serve the public.

STB explained that he can issue an emergency service order “under 49 USC § 11123 when he determines that circumstances exist, such as unauthorized cessation of operations or other failure of traffic movement , qui créent” une situation d’urgence d’une ampleur telle qu’elle a des effets négatifs importants sur les expéditeurs, ou sur le service ferroviaire dans une région des États-Unis ou qu’un transporteur ferroviaire assurant le transport relevant de la jurisdiction of the Board…cannot carry the traffic offered to it in a manner that properly serves the public. The STB concluded that the order was “justified” in this case.

Specifically, Foster requested that, for a period of at least 30 days, the board until:
• “[P]Adjust crew allocation to favor unit trains from farms to loading origins.
• “[P]prioritize the carriage of Foster Farms unit trains on the UP system with the aim of minimizing the extent to which crews on these trains “stop” under hours of service rules, thereby allowing the train to complete its movement from origin to destination without stopping, departing crew, then waiting for a new crew.
• “[A]signer et conserver suffisamment de locomotives pour les trains de Foster Farms aux points de chargement afin de s’assurer qu’une fois qu’un train de Foster Farms est chargé, il y a suffisamment de puissance de locomotive pour que le train-bloc puisse immediately begin its journey to Travers and Turlock from Foster Farms [California] facilities.
• “[P]fournir au Conseil des rapports d’étape quotidiens sur la période de 30 jours concernant la livraison des trains de Foster Farms, y compris le nombre de trains et de wagons facturés aux installations de Traver et de Turlock de Foster Farms, ainsi que les performances réelles compared to the trip plan data for these expeditions.”

On June 16, UP filed a response with the STB, “acknowledging that it has failed to provide adequate service to Foster Farms and is committed to improving,” according to the STB. “Up says it will improve service by moving an additional train into service; Prioritize, over other network requirements, the following: (1) additional trains/cars; (2) crews required for the Foster Farms service; (3) locomotives to be used for Foster Farms service; (4) provide the Commission with specific daily Foster Farms service data until volume requirements are met; and (5) participate in weekly technical conferences between the parties and OPAGAC until volume requirements are met. »

The STB wrote in its ruling that Foster Farms’ attorney and staff “advised that the delivery of these trains [by UP] would provide significant temporary relief.

The agency ordered UP “to carry out its specific service commitments … directed at the Turlock and Traver facilities,” and wrote that if the Class I railroad “needs to deviate,” it should ” notify the Board of Directors and Foster Farms in writing as soon as possible”. as he can.

STB noted that “[n]Nothing in this order relieves UP of its common carrier obligation with respect to the remainder of its network. The Board will closely monitor UP’s rail service and OPAGAC, while also advising the Board, will continue to be available to parties should they require further assistance. The Board encourages the parties to engage OPAGAC staff to help informally resolve these issues. »

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