[Federal Register Volume 63, Number 19 (Thursday, January 29, 1998)]
[Notices]
[Pages 4519-4520]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 98-2198]


=======================================================================
-----------------------------------------------------------------------

DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Surface Transportation Board
[STB Docket No. AB-192 (Sub-No. 1)]


The Birmingham Southern Railroad Company; Abandonment and 
Discontinuance of Trackage Rights in Jefferson County, AL

    On January 9, 1998, the Birmingham Southern Railroad Company (BS) 
amended an application it filed with the Surface Transportation Board 
(Board) on December 22, 1997, to abandon a portion of its line of 
railroad known as the Birmingham Branch, extending from BS Milepost 
146+97.22 near East Thomas Station to the end of the line near 
Birmingham Station, a distance of 3.869 miles, in Jefferson County, AL; 
1 and to discontinue its trackage rights over Norfolk 
Southern Railway Company's (NSR) line between NSR's Mileposts 143 and 
144 near Birmingham Station, a distance of .614 miles in Jefferson 
County, AL. The trackage rights include the right of BS to travel over 
approximately 500 feet of main line track over which NSR continues to 
maintain traffic, and approximately 2,741 feet of yard track which was 
removed by NSR approximately 10 years ago. The line includes only one 
station, Birmingham Station No. 605, near BS Milepost 25+67.42 and

[[Page 4520]]

traverses United States Postal Service ZIP Codes 35203, 35204 and 
35233.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ BS amended its original filing to clarify that the portion 
of the Birmingham Branch sought to be abandoned consists of only two 
segments: (1) The Birmingham Running Track, extending a distance of 
2.78 miles between BS station 0+00 and BS station 146+97.22; and (2) 
the Birmingham Yard, extending a distance of 1.08 miles between BS 
station 0+00 and BS station 56+83.94. BS maintains that a third 
segment originally included in its December 22, 1997 filing (the 
Ingalls Iron Works Track, extending a distance of .29 miles between 
BS station 3+20.28 and BS station 18+41.48), is actually exempt 
industry/switching track that should not have been included in the 
abandonment application. Accordingly, BS does not seek abandonment 
authorization for the Ingalls Iron Works Track. The abandonment 
application will be deemed to have been filed on January 9, 1998, 
the date the clarification was filed, and hence the procedural 
schedule will run from that date.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The line does not contain federally granted rights-of way. Any 
documentation in the railroad's possession will be made available 
promptly to those requesting it. The applicant's entire case for 
abandonment and discontinuance was filed with the application.
    The Birmingham Branch has appeared on the applicant's system 
diagram map or has been included in its narrative in category 1 since 
1990.
    The interest of railroad employees will be protected by the 
conditions in Oregon Short Line R. Co.--Abandonment--Goshen, 360 I.C.C. 
91 (1979).
    Any interested person may file with the Board written comments 
concerning the proposed abandonment and discontinuance or protests 
(including the protestant's entire opposition case), by February 23, 
1998. All interested persons should be aware that following any 
abandonment of rail service and salvage of the line, the line may be 
suitable for other public use, including interim trail use. Any request 
for a public use condition under 49 U.S.C. 10905 (49 CFR 1152.28) or 
for a trail use condition under 16 U.S.C. 1247(d) (49 CFR 1152.29) must 
be filed by February 23, 1998. Each trail use request must be 
accompanied by a $150 filing fee. See 49 CFR 1002.2(f)(27). The 
applicant's reply to any opposition statements and its response to 
trail use requests must be filed by March 10, 1998. See 49 CFR 
1152.26(a).
    Persons opposing the proposed abandonment and discontinuance that 
wish to participate actively and fully in the process should file a 
protest. Persons who may oppose the abandonment and discontinuance but 
who do not wish to participate fully in the process by appearing at any 
oral hearings or by submitting verified statements of witnesses 
containing detailed evidence should file comments. Persons interested 
only in seeking public use or trail use conditions should also file 
comments.
    In addition, a commenting party or protestant may provide:
    (i) An offer of financial assistance (OFA) for continued rail 
service under 49 U.S.C. 10904 (due 120 days after the application is 
filed or 10 days after the application is granted by the Board, 
whichever occurs sooner);
    (ii) Recommended provisions for protection of the interests of 
employees;
    (iii) A request for a public use condition under 49 U.S.C. 10905; 
and
    (iv) A statement pertaining to prospective use of the right-of way 
for interim trail use and rail banking under 16 U.S.C. 1247(d) and 49 
CFR 1152.29.
    All filings in response to this notice must refer to STB Docket No. 
AB-192 (Sub-No. 1) and must be sent to: (1) Surface Transportation 
Board, Office of the Secretary, Case Control Unit, 1925 K Street, N.W., 
Washington, DC 20423-0001; and (2) Maria A. Sandala, Attorney, 135 
Jamison Lane, P.O. Box 68, Monroeville, PA 15146. The original and 10 
copies of all comments or protests shall be filed with the Board with a 
certificate of service. Except as otherwise set forth in part 1152, 
every document filed with the Board must be served on all parties to 
the abandonment proceeding. 49 CFR 1104.12(a).
    The lines sought to be abandoned and discontinued will be available 
for subsidy or sale for continued rail use if the Board decides to 
permit the abandonment and discontinuance in accordance with applicable 
laws and regulations (49 U.S.C. 10904 and 49 CFR 1152.27). Each OFA 
must be accompanied by a $900 filing fee. See 49 CFR 1002.2(f)(25). No 
subsidy arrangement approved under 49 U.S.C. 10904 shall remain in 
effect for more than 1 year unless otherwise mutually agreed by the 
parties (49 U.S.C. 10904(f)(4)(B)). Applicant will promptly provide 
upon request to each interested party an estimate of the subsidy and 
minimum purchase price required to keep the line in operation. The 
carrier's representative to whom inquiries may be made concerning sale 
or subsidy terms is Mr. J. L. Neis, General Superintendent, Birmingham 
Southern Railroad Company, 6200 E. J. Oliver Blvd., P.O. Box 579, 
Fairfield, AL 35064.
    Persons seeking further information concerning the abandonment and 
discontinuance 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) 565-1545. [TDD for the hearing 
impaired is available at (202) 565-1695.]
    An environmental sessment (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 abandonment proceedings normally will 
be made available within 33 days of the filing of the application. The 
deadline for submission of comments on the EA will generally be within 
30 days of its service. The comments received will be addressed in the 
Board's decision. A supplemental EA or EIS may be issued where 
appropriate.

    Decided: January 22, 1998.

    By the Board, David M. Konschnik, Director, Office of 
Proceedings.
Vernon A. Williams,
Secretary.
[FR Doc. 98-2198 Filed 1-28-98; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4915-00-P