Surface Transportation Board Chairman Roger Nober announced that he has asked each of the seven largest railroads to report to the Board within 30 days on its plans to meet the expected increase in demand during the fall shipping season, which is known as the “fall peak.” He made a similar request of the association that represents the nation’s small and regional railroads.
The Chairman noted:
“This year, as last, the demand for rail services continues to grow, and is straining the ability of our railroads to meet that growing demand. At the same time, the shipping community and our economy as a whole depends on reliable and efficient freight rail service. Therefore, I am again asking the railroads to submit to us their operational plans for handling the fall peak and capital plans for relieving bottlenecks, so that our agency, rail shippers and railroad stakeholders may all understand how the railroads plan to meet demand.
“This is the second year that we have sought this valuable information. The Congressional Budget Office praised our efforts in monitoring the fall peak last year and said that it ‘may have prompted the railroads to enhance their efforts to meet demand.’ I believe it did just that, which is a good reason to seek these plans again.”
In the fall peak letters sent June 15, 2005, Chairman Roger Nober requested the specifics of each railroad’s service and operational plans for this year’s fall peak, focusing on:
o Steps each railroad is taking to ascertain demand for, and to prepare for, the fall peak;
o Each railroad’s performance goals for at least the next 120 days, with a view toward meeting the service demands for the fall peak; and
o Each railroad’s plan for achieving those goals.
Recognizing that many of the service issues experienced by railroads and their customers are related to insufficient rail capacity, the Chairman also sought information on each railroad’s:
o Capital plans for increasing capacity in 2005;
o Critical capacity-related infrastructure needs; and
o Plans for addressing those critical capacity-enhancing infrastructure needs and expectations for timely completion of those improvements.
The Chairman also asked each railroad to provide details on how it intended to keep its customers informed.