|SURFACE TRANSPORTATION BOARD DECISION DOCUMENT|
|THE ALABAMA GREAT SOUTHERN RAILROAD COMPANY-ABANDOMENT EXEMPTION-IN GADSDEN, ETOWAH COUNTY, ALA.|
|Notice Of Exemption|
|Director Of Proceedings|
|PROVIDED NOTICE THAT THE ALABAMA GREAT SOUTHERN RAILROAD COMPANY AND TENNESSEE, ALABAMA, AND GEORGIA RAILWAY COMPANY FILED A NOTICE OF EXEMPTION TO ABANDON SERVICE OVER APPROXIMATELY 4.25 MILES OF INTERCONNECTED RAIL LINE IN GADSDEN, ETOWAH COUNTY, ALA.|
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|Full Text of Decision|
42946 SERVICE DATE – MARCH 5, 2013
DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Surface Transportation Board
[Docket No. AB 290 (Sub-No. 335X]
The Alabama Great Southern Railroad Company—Abandonment Exemption—in Gadsden, Etowah County, Ala.
[Docket No. AB 290 (Sub-No. 340X]
Tennessee, Alabama, and Georgia Railway Company—Abandonment Exemption—in Gadsden, Etowah County, Ala.
The Alabama Great Southern Railroad Company (AGS) and Tennessee, Alabama, and Georgia Railway Company (TAG) (collectively, applicants) have jointly filed a verified notice of exemption under 49 C.F.R. pt. 1152 subpart F—Exempt Abandonments for AGS and TAG to abandon service over approximately 4.25 miles of interconnected rail line in Gadsden, Etowah County, Ala. Specifically, AGS proposes to: (1) abandon 3.10 miles of rail line (the AGS segment) between milepost 2.40 AG (near Cabot Ave.) and milepost 5.50 AG (near the intersection of River and Coosa Streets); and (2) TAG proposes to abandon approximately 1.15 miles of rail line (the TAG segment) between milepost TA 90.30 (located between the north end of Brookside Drive and Owls Hollow Road) and milepost TA 91.45 (at TAG Segment’s connection with the AGS Segment west of N 5th Street) (the Line). The Line traverses United States Postal Service Zip Codes 35901 and 35904.
Applicants have certified that: (1) no local traffic has moved over the Line for at least two years; (2) no overhead traffic has moved over the Line for at least two years and overhead traffic, if there were any, could 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 two-year period; and (4) the requirements at 49 C.F.R. § 1105.7(c) (environmental report), 49 C.F.R. § 1105.11 (transmittal letter), 49 C.F.R. § 1105.12 (newspaper publication), and 49 C.F.R. § 1152.50(d)(1) (notice to governmental agencies) have been met.
As a condition to these exemptions, any employee adversely affected by the abandonment shall be protected under Oregon Short Line Railroad–Abandonment Portion Goshen Branch Between Firth & Ammon, in Bingham & Bonneville Counties, Idaho, 360 I.C.C. 91 (1979). To address whether this condition adequately protects affected employees, a petition for partial revocation under 49 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, these exemptions will be effective on April 4, 2013, unless stayed pending reconsideration. Petitions to stay that do not involve environmental issues, formal expressions of intent to file an OFA under 49 C.F.R. § 1152.27(c)(2), and trail use/rail banking requests under 49 C.F.R.§ 1152.29 must be filed by March 15, 2013. Petitions to reopen or requests for public use conditions under 49 C.F.R. § 1152.28 must be filed by March 25, 2013, with the Surface Transportation Board, 395 E Street, S.W., Washington, DC 20423-0001.
A copy of any petition filed with the Board should be sent to applicants’ representative: Robert A. Wimbish, Baker & Miller PLLC, 2401 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W., Suite 300, Washington, DC 20037.
If the verified notice contains false or misleading information, the exemptions are void ab initio.
Applicants have filed a combined environmental and historic report that addresses the effects, if any, of the abandonment on the environment and historic resources. OEA will issue an environmental assessment (EA) by March 8, 2013. Interested persons may obtain a copy of the EA by writing to OEA (Room 1100, Surface Transportation Board, Washington, DC 20423-0001) or by calling OEA, at (202) 245-0305. 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 C.F.R. § 1152.29(e)(2), applicants shall jointly file a notice of consummation with the Board to signify that each has exercised the authority granted and fully abandoned its portion of the Line. If consummation has not been effected by applicants’ filing of a notice of consummation by March 5, 2014, 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 “WWW.STB.DOT.GOV.”
Decided: February 28, 2013.
By the Board, Rachel D. Campbell, Director, Office of Proceedings.
 Both applicants are wholly-owned subsidiaries of the Norfolk Southern Railway Company.
 The Board will grant a stay if an informed decision on environmental issues (whether raised by a party or by the Board’s Office of Environmental Analysis (OEA) in its independent investigation) cannot be made before the exemptions’ effective date. See Exemption of Out-of-Serv. 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 exemptions’ effective date.
 Each OFA must be accompanied by the filing fee, which is currently set at $1,600. See 49 C.F.R. § 1002.2(f)(25).