SURFACE TRANSPORTATION BOARD DECISION DOCUMENT
    Decision Information

Docket Number:  
FD_31340_0

Case Title:  
WISCONSIN AND CALUMET RAILROAD COMPANY, INC.--MODIFIED RAIL CERTIFICATE

Decision Type:  
Decision

Deciding Body:  
Director Of Proceedings

    Decision Summary

Decision Notes:  
DECISION GRANTED A REQUEST FOR THE STATE OF WISCONSIN, THROUGH ITS DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, TO NEGOTIATE WITH THE WISCONSIN DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES FOR INTERIM TRAIL USE FOR THE LINE UNTIL OCTOBER 10, 2017.

    Decision Attachments

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    Full Text of Decision

36078

45750 SERVICE DATE – APRIL 13, 2017

DO

 

SURFACE TRANSPORTATION BOARD

 

DECISION AND NOTICE OF INTERIM TRAIL USE OR ABANDONMENT

 

Docket No. FD 31340

 

wisconsin and calumet railroad company, inc.—

Modified Rail Certificate

 

Decided: April 12, 2017

 

In a decision served on October 28, 1988, the Board’s predecessor, the Interstate Commerce Commission, issued a modified certificate of public convenience and necessity (modified certificate) under 49 C.F.R.  1150.23 to the Wisconsin and Calumet Railroad Company, Inc. (WICT), to operate a rail line owned by the State of Wisconsin[1] between milepost 0.07 at Mazomanie, Wis., and milepost 13.07 at Prairie du Sac, Wis., a distance of approximately 13 miles. The current operator, the Wisconsin and Southern Railroad, L.L.C. (WSOR), is a successor to WICT.[2]

 

On March 2, 2017, WSOR filed, under 49 C.F.R.  1150.24, a 60-day notice of its intent to terminate service under the modified certificate on a 5.11-mile segment of the line beginning near milepost 7.96[3] near the Village of Sauk City and ending at milepost 13.07[4] near the City of Prairie du Sac, in Sauk County, Wis. (the Line). According to WSOR, the Line is currently non-operational and there have been no shippers, and no rail service has been provided, on the line for many years.

 

Also on March 2, 2017, WisDOT filed a petition on behalf of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) for a notice of interim trail use or abandonment (NITU) for the Line under the National Trails System Act (Trails Act), 16 U.S.C.  1247(d) and 49 C.F.R.  1152.29. WSOR joins in the request for issuance of the NITU. WDNR has submitted a statement indicating its willingness to assume financial responsibility for management of the right-of-way as required pursuant to 49 C.F.R.  1152.29, and has acknowledged that the use of the right of way for trail purposes is subject to future reconstruction and reactivation for rail service. WisDOT, WDNR and WSOR have agreed to work cooperatively for WDNR’s use of the right of way.

 

The Board has jurisdiction to impose interim trail use in a proceeding where a notice is filed under 49 C.F.R.  1150.24 to terminate operations under a modified certificate. See Port of Tillamook Bay R.R.—Modified Rail Certificate, FD 31676, (STB served July 26, 2016); Wis. & Calumet R.R.—Notice of Interim Trail Use & Termination of Modified Certificate, FD 30724 (Sub-No. 1) (ICC served Aug. 8, 1989); Sammamish Transp. Co.—Notice of Interim Trail Use & Termination of Modified Certificate, FD 33398 (Sub-No. 1) (STB served Feb. 26, 1998).

 

Inasmuch as abandonment has never been consummated, and because the WisDOT/WDNR request complies with the requirements of 49 C.F.R.  1152.29 and WSOR agrees to negotiate for interim trail use, a NITU will be issued for the Line. WisDOT is free to negotiate an agreement during the 180-day period prescribed below. If an interim trail use agreement is reached (and thus, interim trail use is established), the parties shall jointly notify the Board within 10 days that an agreement has been reached.  49 C.F.R.  1152.29(d)(2) and (h). Because WSOR has already filed its termination notice under 49 C.F.R.  1150.24, if no interim trail use agreement is reached, the modified certificate shall be considered terminated as of the end of the NITU negotiating period. Use of the right-of-way for trail purposes is subject to future restoration for railroad purposes.  See 49 C.F.R.  1152.29(d)(2).

 

It is ordered:

 

1. The request for a notice of interim trail use under 16 U.S.C.  1247(d) and 49 C.F.R.  1152.29 is accepted. WisDOT may negotiate with WDNR for interim trail use for the Line for a period of 180 days from the service date of this decision and notice, until October 10, 2017.

 

2. If an interim trail use/rail banking agreement is reached, it must require the trail user to assume, for the term of the agreement, full responsibility for: (i) managing the right-of-way; (ii) any legal liability arising out of the transfer or use of the right-of-way (unless the user is immune from liability, in which case it need only indemnify the railroad against any potential liability), and (iii) the payment of any and all taxes that may be levied or assessed against the right-of-way.

 

3. Interim trail use/rail banking is subject to any future use of the property for restoration of railroad operations and to the trail sponsor’s continuing to meet the financial obligations for the right-of-way described in paragraph 2 above.

 

4. If interim trail use is implemented, and subsequently the user intends to terminate trail use, it must send the Board a copy of this decision and notice and request that it be vacated on a specified date.

 

5. If an interim trail use agreement is reached by October 10, 2017 (and thus, interim trail use is established), the parties shall jointly notify the Board within 10 days that an agreement has been reached. 49 C.F.R. 1152.29(d)(2) and (h). If no interim trail use agreement is reached, the modified certificate shall be considered terminated as of the end of the NITU negotiating period.

 

6. This decision is effective on its service date.

 

By the Board, Scott M. Zimmerman, Acting Director, Office of Proceedings.



[1] The State of Wisconsin, through its Department of Transportation (WisDOT), acquired the line after the previous owner, the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad Company (MILW), became bankrupt and discontinued service and the line was authorized for abandonment. See Chi., Milwaukee, St. Paul & Pac. R.R.—Aban.—Middleton to Richland Ctr, Wis., AB 7 (Sub-No. 99), (ICC served May 6, 1982).

[2] In 1992, WICT was purchased by the Wisconsin & Southern Railroad Co., which is succeeded by WSOR.

[3] Milepost 7.96 is further described as the 89.72755 W lat., 43.26541 N long., or the eastern extent of Water Street.

[4] Milepost 13.07 is further described as the point S89 degrees 51’22”W 87.44 feet along the South line of the Northwest 1/4 of Section 23, Township 10 North, Range 6 East from center of Said Section 23.