On May 6, the Surface Transportation Board (STB)announced it will require the four largest U.S. rail carriers (BNSF Railway, CSX Transportation, Norfolk Southern Railway, and Union Pacific Railroad) to file service recovery plans.

The plans will explain the specific actions each carrier will take to improve service. Every 2 weeks, the carriers must also file service progress reports and confer with STB staff.

Additionally, weekly, all seven Class I carriers will have to submit a number of new service metrics.

These include (but are not limited to) data on terminal dwell times at 10 additional locations; shares of scheduled services that were fulfilled; and shares of cars dropped off within 24 hours of the estimated time of arrival.

STB released the new requirements after its 2-day hearing on rail service issues in which USDA, the Department of Transportation, FMC, and many shippers expressed strong concerns over ongoing rail service issues.

The STB Chair said the new requirements would “enable needed monitoring of the improved efforts the railroads have been promising for months, and [help] determine if additional regulatory steps are necessary to promote reliable service.”

Source: USDA