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Notice

Petitions for Waivers of Compliance

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In accordance with title 49 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) section 211.41, and 49 U.S.C. 20103, this notice is hereby given that the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has received a request for a waiver of compliance from certain requirements of its safety regulations. The individual petition is described below, including the party seeking relief, the regulatory provisions involved, the nature of the relief being sought, and the petitioner's argument in favor of relief.

Canadian National Railway; FRA Waiver Petition No. FRA-2003-15012

Canadian National Railway (CN) located in Montreal, Canada, seeks a permanent waiver of compliance from 49 CFR 241.7(c), United States Locational Requirements for Dispatching of United States Rail Operations, to allow the continuation of Canadian dispatching of that part of the Sprague Subdivision located in the United States, extending between Baudette, Minnesota, and International Boundary, Minnesota, approximately 43.8 miles and on those parts of the Strathroy and Flint Subdivisions located in the United States, forming a continuous line between Sarnia, Ontario, Canada, through the St. Clair River Tunnel, and Port Huron, Michigan, approximately 3.1 miles, as defined in appendix A to part 241. This request formalizes the request for waiver requirement contained in part 241, specifically § 241.7(c)(3), which refers to territory that was previously Start Printed Page 36624grandfathered in the exceptions to extraterritorial dispatching contained in FRA's Interim Final Rule (see 66 FR 63942, December 11, 2001).

In this regard, the track segments identified in the Interim Final Rule remains the same as identified above. With respect to the Sprague Subdivision, this is part of a continuous line extending between Rainy River, Ontario, and Navin, Manitoba, Canada, a distance of 145.2 miles, a portion of which cuts across a corner of the State of Minnesota, from the U.S./Canadian border near Baudette, Minnesota (milepost 1.1), and the U.S./Canadian border at a point identified as International Boundary, Minnesota, milepost 44.9, a distance of approximately 43.8 miles. Approximately 15 trains per day are operated over this segment. Each train that traverses this territory is operated by the same crew. The entire Sprague Subdivision is single track and is operated under a Centralized Traffic Control system, controlled from a single dispatching desk at CN's Rail Traffic Control Center in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. With respect to the Strathroy and Flint Subdivisions, this is part of a continuous line extending between London, Ontario, Canada, and Port Huron, Michigan, a distance of 61.7 miles, a 3.1 mile portion of which is located in the United States. Approximately 26 trains per day are operated over this segment. Each train that traverses this territory is operated by the same crew. This segment consists of a single track for approximately 1.1 miles, and two main tracks for the remaining 2.0 miles, and is operated under a Centralized Traffic Control system, controlled from a single dispatching desk at CN's Rail Traffic Control Center in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Dispatching of all trackage of the Sprague Subdivision and the Strathroy and Flint Subdivisions is an entirely English operation and fully dispatched in English. Canadian Rail Operating Rules (CROR) and CN's Timetable and Special Instructions govern train operations on this trackage. CN uses English (or Imperial) units for all aspects of railroad operations, including distance, speed, and location. The CN dispatchers are covered under their company drug and alcohol policies and their dispatching office is under 24-hour security. Transport Canada Rail Safety Directorate has the legislative safety jurisdiction over CN in accordance with the provisions contained in the Railway Safety Act over all federally regulated railways operating in Canada.

Based on the foregoing, CN seeks a permanent waiver of compliance from 49 CFR 241.7(c), United States Locational Requirements for Dispatching of United States Rail Operations, to allow the continuation of Canadian dispatching on that part of the Sprague Subdivision located in the United States and on those parts of the Strathroy and Flint Subdivisions located in the United States, as described above.

Interested parties are invited to participate in this proceeding by submitting written views, data, or comments. FRA does not anticipate scheduling a public hearing in connection with the request for a waiver of certain regulatory provisions. If any interested party desires an opportunity for oral comment, he or she should notify FRA, in writing, before the end of the comment period and specify the basis for his or her request. All communications concerning these proceedings should identify the appropriate docket number (Docket Number FRA 2003-15012) and must be submitted to the DOT Docket Management Facility, Room PL-401 (Plaza level) 400 Seventh Street, SW., Washington, DC 20590. All documents in the public docket, including CN's detailed waiver request, are also available for inspection and copying on the Internet at the docket facility's Web site at http://dms.dot.gov. Communications received within 30 days of the date of this notice will be considered by FRA before final action is taken. Comments received after that date will be considered as far as practicable. All written communications concerning this proceeding are available for examination during regular business hours (9 a.m.-5 p.m.) at the above facility.

FRA wishes to inform all potential commenters that anyone is able to search the electronic form of all comments received into any of our dockets by the name of the individual submitting the comment (or signing the comment, if submitted on behalf of an association, business, labor union, etc.). You may review DOT's complete Privacy Act Statement in the Federal Register published on April 11, 2000 (Volume 65, Number 70; Pages 19477-78) or you may visit http://dms.dot.gov.

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Issued in Washington, DC on June 11, 2003.

Grady C. Cothen, Jr.,

Deputy Associate Administrator for Safety Standards and Program Development.

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[FR Doc. 03-15394 Filed 6-17-03; 8:45 am]

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