CSX shippers call for new meeting with Federal regulators

Shippers' coalition: 'Many shippers are continuing to experience significant problems'
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WASHINGTON — CSX shippers want another meeting.

Despite a full-day hearing on Oct. 11 before the Surface Transportation Board on CSX Transportation's performance, officials with the Rail Customer Coalition say the eastern railroad has failed to improve. They've asked to meet with federal regulators again and are repeating requests for the board to take some action in addition to listening to their complaints.

In letters to the STB and members of the U.S. Senate's Commerce Committee and the House of Representative's Transportation Committee date Nov. 14, the shippers say they are experiencing "service changes with little notice, missed switches, and poor communication on delivery status."

A coalition representative forwarded electronic versions of the letters to Trains News Wire.

"CSX remains committed to delivering excellent service to our customers, and we are extremely disappointed by the Rail Customer Coalition’s opportunistic attempt to use this past summer’s service issues to push an unrelated regulatory agenda," CSX representative Rob Doolittle says to News Wire in an email. "CSX has recovered from the service issues we experienced earlier this year, we are proud of the great work that our dedicated railroaders have accomplished, and we continue to demonstrate our ongoing progress through our weekly dialog with the Surface Transportation Board. We intend to continue making our railroad safer, more efficient, with an even better service product."

The representative cited statistics showing the railroad improved velocity and dwell time.

The coalition is also calling on members of Congress to "examine the CSX service breakdown, and potential means available to the STB to mitigate the adverse impacts to the rail network."

The committees could call their own hearings on CSX service or send letters to the STB or CSX looking for information. Individual members could introduce new legislation regulating railroads further: Giving the STB more powers, for instance.

Members of the coalition, which include the American Chemistry Council, National Farmers Union, and the Sulphur Institute among 30 different organizations, have have changed their tune little since early summer freight cars spent as many as 70 hours in "dwell time" in certain CSX yards. The railroad's metrics have improved since then, but now shippers are openly questioning whether the reported metrics matter when they perceive continued freight delays.

The STB and Congress have yet to publicly respond to the shippers' letters.

Read the coalition's letters to the Surface Transportation Board and to Congress online.

UPDATE: Comments from CSX Transportation. Nov. 15, 2017. 4:45 p.m. Central time.

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