On December 14, 2005, Norfolk Southern Railway Company (NSR) filed with the Surface Transportation Board a petition under 49 U.S.C. 10502 for exemption from the provisions of 49 U.S.C. 10903-05 to abandon its freight operating rights and rail freight service over 12.8 miles of a line of railroad between milepost UU-1.0 at Baltimore, MD, and milepost UU-12.8 at Cockeysville, MD. The line traverses U.S. Postal Service Zip Codes 21030, 21065, and 21201 and includes the stations of Lutherville, Timonium, Texas, and Cockeysville. NSR states that it will continue to provide rail service to the station of Baltimore.
In addition to an exemption from 49 U.S.C. 10903, NSR seeks exemption from 49 U.S.C. 10904 [offer of financial assistance (OFA) procedures] and 49 U.S.C. 10905 [public use conditions]. In support, NSR states that the right-of-way is owned by the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT), and MDOT, through MTA, will continue to use the line for the public purpose of providing light rail commuter passenger service. These requests will be addressed in the final decision.
The line does not contain Federally granted rights-of-way. Any documentation in NSR's possession will be made available promptly to those requesting it.
The interest of railroad employees will be protected by the conditions set forth in Oregon Short Line R. Co.—Abandonment—Goshen, 360 I.C.C. 91 (1979).
By issuance of this notice, the Board is instituting an exemption proceeding pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 10502(b). A final decision will be issued by April 3, 2006.
Any OFA under 49 CFR 1152.27(b)(2) will be due no later than 10 days after service of a decision granting the petition for exemption, unless the Board grants the requested exemption from the OFA process. Each offer must be accompanied by a $1,200 filing fee. See 49 CFR 1002.2(f)(25).
All interested persons should be aware that, following abandonment of rail service and salvage of the line, the line may be suitable for other public use, including interim trail use. Unless the Board grants the requested exemption from the public use provisions, any request for a public use condition under 49 CFR 1152.28 or for trail use/rail banking  under 49 CFR 1152.29 will be due no later than Start Printed Page 169January 23, 2006. Each trail use request must be accompanied by a $200 filing fee. See 49 CFR 1002.2(f)(27).
All filings in response to this notice must refer to STB Docket No. AB-290 (Sub-No. 237X), and must be sent to: (1) Surface Transportation Board, 1925 K Street, NW., Washington, DC 20423-0001, and (2) James R. Paschall, Senior General Attorney, Norfolk Southern Railway Company, Three Commercial Place, Norfolk, VA 23510-2191. Replies to NSR's petition are due on or before January 23, 2006.
Persons seeking further information concerning abandonment procedures may contact the Board's Office of Public Services at (202) 565-1592 or refer to the full abandonment or discontinuance regulations at 49 CFR part 1152. Questions concerning environmental issues may be directed to the Board's Section of Environmental Analysis (SEA) at (202) 565-1539. [Assistance for the hearing impaired is available through the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 1-800-877-8339.]
An environmental assessment (EA) (or environmental impact statement (EIS), if necessary) prepared by SEA will be served upon all parties of record and upon any agencies or other persons who commented during its preparation. Other interested persons may contact SEA to obtain a copy of the EA (or EIS). EAs in these abandonment proceedings normally will be made available within 60 days of the filing of the petition. The deadline for submission of comments on the EA will generally be within 30 days of its service.
Board decisions and notices are available on our Web site at “http://www.stb.dot.gov.”Start Signature
Decided: December 22, 2005.
By the Board, David M. Konschnik, Director, Office of Proceedings.
Vernon A. Williams,
1. Pursuant to the Conrail Transaction Agreement approved by the Board in 3 S.T.B. 196 (1998), certain Consolidated Rail Corporation (Conrail) assets, including Conrail's interest in the line, were allocated to Pennsylvania Lines, LLC (PRR). PRR's assets, in turn, were leased to and operated by NSR under the terms of an allocated assets operating agreement between PRR and NSR. NSR acquired the right to operate over the line from Conrail through merger of NSR with Conrail's former subsidiary, PRR, on August 27, 2004. See CSX Corporation and CSX Transportation, Inc., Norfolk Southern Corporation and Norfolk Southern Railway Company—Control and Operating Leases/Agreements—Conrail Inc. and Consolidated Rail Corporation, STB Finance Docket No. 33388 (Sub-No. 94), Decision No. 2 (STB served Nov. 7, 2003).Back to Citation
2. MDOT describes itself as the umbrella organization for the Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) and other Maryland governmental transportation agencies. MDOT and MTA are government agencies sponsoring or operating commuter mass transit service and have not held, do not hold, and do not intend to hold themselves out to provide rail freight service over the line.Back to Citation
3. NSR indicates that, because of the continuing use of the line for light rail commuter passenger operations by MTA, NSR will not consent to a trail use negotiation condition.Back to Citation
[FR Doc. 05-24626 Filed 12-30-05; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4915-01-P