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STB Chairman Requests Class I Railroads Report on Preparedness to Meet Demand, Workforce and Equipment Resources

05/27/2020 (Thursday) [PDF Version]
No. 21-24

Michael Booth
FedRelay 1 (800) 877-8339

Surface Transportation Board Chairman Martin J. Oberman today sent letters to all Class I railroads requesting that they provide an update on their preparedness to meet the demand for rail service as the nation continues its economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Chairman Oberman in his letter expresses concern that recent rail service problems, as reported by some shippers, may relate to a broader trend of rail labor reductions over the last several years, in addition to the furloughs and quarantines brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.  Chairman Oberman asks the railroads to provide information pertaining to the sufficiency of operating personnel and railroad equipment availability going forward, as well as longer-term expectations for hiring.  The Chairman also acknowledges that the pandemic significantly disrupted rail operations and commends the Class I railroads for proactive communication with the Board and other stakeholders during this difficult time.  He encourages continued robust engagement.

“The freight rail industry has performed admirably during the COVID-19 pandemic and, as the nation’s economy recovers, I want to be fully informed as to the Class I railroads’ preparedness to meet forecasted demand, including the railroads having the necessary labor and equipment resources in place to provide safe, reliable and efficient service to customers,” the Chairman noted.

The Chairman’s letters to each Class I railroad may be viewed and downloaded here.