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Notice

Honey Creek Railroad, Inc.-Abandonment Exemption-in Henry County, IN

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The Honey Creek Railroad, Inc. (HCR) has filed a notice of exemption under 49 CFR 1152 Subpart F—Exempt Abandonments to abandon its entire approximately 5.9-mile line of railroad, between Sulphur Springs and New Castle, in Henry County, IN.[1] The line traverses United States Postal Service Zip Code 47362.

HCR has certified that: (1) No local traffic has moved over the line for at least 2 years; (2) there is no overhead traffic on the line; (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 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. 10502(g), unless the evidence indicates the existence of: (1) A corporate affiliate that will continue substantially similar rail operations; or (2) a corporate parent that will realize substantial financial benefits over and above relief from the burden of deficit operations by its subsidiary railroad. See Wellsville, Addison & Galeton R. Corp.—Abandonment, 354 I.C.C. 744 (1978); and Northampton and Bath R. Co.—Abandonment, 354 I.C.C. 784 (1978). Because HCR does not appear to have a corporate affiliate or parent that will continue similar operations or that could benefit from the proposed abandonment, 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 September 21, 2004, unless stayed pending reconsideration. Petitions to stay that do not involve environmental issues,[2] formal expressions of intent to file an OFA under 49 CFR 1152.27(c)(2),[3] and trail use/rail banking requests under 49 CFR 1152.29 must be filed by August 30, 2004. Petitions to reopen or requests for public use conditions under 49 CFR 1152.28 must be filed by September 9, 2004, 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 the HCR's representative: Richard R. Wilson, 127 Lexington Avenue, Suite 100, Altoona, PA 16601.

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

HCR 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 August 27, 2004. 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), HCR 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 HCR's filing of a notice of consummation by August 20, 2005, 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 Web site at http://www.stb.dot.gov.

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Dated: August 16, 2004.

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

Vernon A. Williams,

Secretary.

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Footnotes

1.  HCR acquired the line in Honey Creek Railroad, Inc.—Acquisition and Operation Exemption—Line of Consolidated Rail Corporation, Finance Docket No. 32332 (ICC served Sept. 20, 1993). There, it was specified that the line runs between Consolidated Rail Corporation's milepost 104.1 and milepost 110.05. HCR states that these designations were not utilized by it in connection with HCR's rail operations.

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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.

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3.  Each OFA must be accompanied by the filing fee, which currently is set at $1,100. See 49 CFR 1002.2(f)(25).

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[FR Doc. 04-19125 Filed 8-19-04; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4915-01-P