Norfolk Southern Railway Company (NSR) has filed a notice of exemption under 49 CFR 1152 Subpart F—Exempt Abandonments to abandon a 1.9-mile line of railroad between milepost PO-0.0 at Bluestone, Mercer County, WV, and milepost PO-1.90 at Pocahontas, Tazewell County, VA. The line traverses United States Postal Service Zip Codes 24740 and 24635.
NSR 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.
As a condition to this exemption, any employee adversely affected by the abandonment shall be protected under Oregon Short Line R. Co.—Abandonment—Goshen, 360 I.C.C. 91 (1979). To address whether this condition adequately protects affected employees, a petition for partial revocation under U.S.C. 10502(d) must be filed. Provided no formal expression of intent to file an offer of financial assistance (OFA) has been received, this exemption will be effective on October 24, 2003, unless stayed pending reconsideration. Petitions to stay that do not involve environmental issues, Start Printed Page 55298formal expressions of intent to file an OFA under 49 CFR 1152.27(c)(2), and trail use/rail banking requests under 49 CFR 1152.29 must be filed by October 6, 2003. Petitions to reopen or requests for public use conditions under 49 CFR 1152.28 must be filed by October 14, 2003, with: Surface Transportation Board, 1925 K Street, NW., Washington, DC 20423-0001.
A copy of any petition filed with the Board should be sent to applicant's representative: James R. Paschall, Norfolk Southern Corporation, Three Commercial Place, Norfolk, VA 23510-9241.
If the verified notice contains false or misleading information, the exemption is void ab initio.
NSR has filed an environmental report which addresses the abandonment's effects, if any, on the environment and historic resources. SEA will issue an environmental assessment (EA) by September 29, 2003. Interested persons may obtain a copy of the EA by writing to SEA (Room 500, Surface Transportation Board, Washington, DC 20423-0001) or by calling SEA, at (202) 565-1539. Assistance for the hearing impaired is available through the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 1-800-877-8339. 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), NSR shall file a notice of consummation with the Board to signify that it has exercised the authority granted and fully abandoned the line. If consummation has not been effected by NSR's filing of a notice of consummation by October 24, 2004 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 http://www.stb.dot.gov.Start Signature
Decided: September 12, 2003.
By the Board, Joseph H. Dettmar, Acting Director, Office of Proceedings.
Vernon A. Williams,
1. Authority to discontinue operations over this line was granted in Norfolk and Western Railway Company—Discontinuance Exemption—In Mercer County, WV, and Tazewell County, VA, Docket No. AB-290 (Sub-No. 107X) (ICC served May 10, 1990).Back to Citation
2. 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 (SEA) 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.Back to Citation
[FR Doc. 03-23855 Filed 9-23-03; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4915-00-P