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Notice

West Virginia Northern Railroad Company-Abandonment Exemption-in Preston County, WV

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West Virginia Northern Railroad Company (WVN) has filed a notice of exemption under 49 CFR 1152 Subpart F—Exempt Abandonments to abandon its entire line of railroad between milepost 0.0 in Tunnelton and the end of the line at milepost 10.13 near Kingwood, in Preston County, WV, a distance of 10.13 miles. The line traverses United States Postal Service Zip Codes 26444 and 26537. Start Printed Page 80484

WVN has certified that: (1) No local traffic has moved over the line for at least 2 years; (2) any overhead traffic can be rerouted over other lines; (3) no formal complaint filed by a user of rail service on the line (or by a state or local government entity acting on behalf of such user) regarding cessation of service over the line either is pending with the Surface Transportation Board (Board) or with any U.S. District Court or has been decided in favor of complainant within the 2-year period; and (4) the requirements at 49 CFR 1105.7 (environmental reports), 49 CFR 1105.8 (historic reports), 49 CFR 1105.11 (transmittal letter), 49 CFR 1105.12 (newspaper publication), and 49 CFR 1152.50(d)(1) (notice to governmental agencies) have been met.

Where, as here, the carrier is abandoning its entire line, the Board does not normally impose labor protection under 49 U.S.C. 10505(g) unless the evidence indicates the existence of a corporate affiliate that will: (1) Continue rail operations; or (2) realize significant benefits in addition to being relieved of the burden of deficit operations by its affiliated railroad. See T and P Railway—Abandonment—in Shawnee, Jefferson and Atchison Counties, KS, Docket No. AB-381, et al. (ICC served Apr. 27, 1993). Because these conditions do not appear to exist here, employee protection conditions will not be imposed.

Provided no formal expression of intent to file an offer of financial assistance (OFA) has been received, this exemption will be effective on January 20, 2001, unless stayed pending reconsideration. Petitions to stay that do not involve environmental issues,[1] formal expressions of intent to file an OFA under 49 CFR 1152.27(c)(2),[2] and trail use/rail banking requests under 49 CFR 1152.29 must be filed by January 2, 2001. Petitions to reopen or requests for public use conditions under 49 CFR 1152.28 must be filed by January 10, 2001, with: Surface Transportation Board, Office of the Secretary, Case Control Unit, 1925 K Street, NW., Washington, DC 20423.

A copy of any petition filed with the Board should be sent to applicant's representative: Fritz R. Kahn, 1920 N Street, NW. (8th Floor), Washington, DC 20036-1601.

If the verified notice contains false or misleading information, the exemption is void ab initio.

WVN has filed an environmental report which addresses the effects, if any, of the abandonment on the environment and historic resources. The Section of Environmental Analysis (SEA) will issue an environmental assessment (EA) by December 26, 2000. Interested persons may obtain a copy of the EA by writing to SEA (Room 500, Surface Transportation Board, Washington, DC 20423) or by calling SEA, at (202) 565-1545. Comments on environmental and historic preservation matters must be filed within 15 days after the EA becomes available to the public.

Environmental, historic preservation, public use, or trail use/rail banking conditions will be imposed, where appropriate, in a subsequent decision.

Pursuant to the provisions of 49 CFR 1152.29(e)(2), WVN shall file a notice of consummation with the Board to signify that it has exercised the authority granted and fully abandoned its line. If consummation has not been effected by WVN's filing of a notice of consummation by December 21, 2001, and there are no legal or regulatory barriers to consummation, the authority to abandon will automatically expire.

Board decisions and notices are available on our website at “WWW.STB.DOT.GOV.

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Decided: December 8, 2000.

By the Board, David M. Konschnik, Director, Office of Proceedings.

Vernon A. Williams,

Secretary.

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Footnotes

1.  The Board will grant a stay if an informed decision on environmental issues (whether raised by a party or by the Board's Section of Environmental Analysis in its independent investigation) cannot be made before the exemption's effective date. See Exemption of Out-of-Service Rail Lines, 5 I.C.C.2d 377 (1989). Any request for a stay should be filed as soon as possible so that the Board may take appropriate action before the exemption's effective date.

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2.  Each offer of financial assistance must be accompanied by the filing fee, which currently is set at $1000. See 49 CFR 1002.2(f)(25).

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[FR Doc. 00-31908 Filed 12-20-00; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4915-00-P