Railroads

News & Analysis as of

USDOT Proposes New Rules for Rail Transport of Fossil Fuels

On Wednesday, July 23, 2014 the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (“Administration”), an agency within the U.S. Department of Transportation (“USDOT”), issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NOPR”) for...more

Supreme Court Grants Certiorari to Review D.C. Circuit Decision Hampering Amtrak's On-Time Performance

On June 23rd, the U.S. Supreme Court granted the government’s Writ of Certiorari to review the decision of the D.C. Circuit that many believe may be hampering Amtrak’s leverage with freight railroads and its on-time...more

State and Local Communities Respond to Crude-by-Rail Safety Issue

July 6 marked the one year anniversary of the crude oil derailment in Lac Megantic Quebec, which significantly heightened throughout North America the awareness about safety issues surrounding crude by rail. This heightened...more

Rail Corporation New South Wales v King [2014] NSWCA 207

The New South Wales Court of Appeal recently handed down judgment in the matter of Rail Corporation New South Wales v King. The facts of the matter are that at 3:00 am on the morning of Saturday, 2 September 2006, Shane King...more

Amtrak and Maryland DOT Plan for Improvements to the Vital Baltimore and Potomac Tunnel Moves to the Public Input Stage

The 141-year-old Baltimore and Potomac (B&P) Tunnel is a major bottleneck on the Northeast Corridor, but Amtrak, the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) and Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) are conducting a...more

Mississippi High Court Vacates Widow’s $1.1 Million Silica Sand Verdict for Insufficient Evidence

The Mississippi Supreme Court recently reversed a $1.1 million jury verdict of a widow of a former railroad worker. In Mississippi Valley Silica Company, Inc. v. Reeves, (Supreme Court of Mississippi, No. 2012-CA-01702-SCT,...more

Supreme Court Grants Certiorari To Two State Tax Cases

On July 1, 2014, the Supreme Court granted certiorari to two state tax cases, just one day after denying certiorari in the Mississippi Equifax case. The two cases, which will be heard during the Court’s October 2014 term,...more

Observations of the Sixth Annual Developing Unconventional Gas Conference

I had the great learning experience of attending The Sixth Annual Developing Unconventional Gas Conference, known as DUG East, earlier this month. The conference is based around the sharing of ideas, performance updates, and...more

Update from the American Public Transportation Association 2014 Rail Conference

The American Public Transportation Association (“APTA”) held its Rail Conference on June 15 through 18, 2014, in Montréal, QC. In addition to the technical sessions for which APTA is well-known, a main theme of the Rail...more

Amtrak, Norfolk Southern, Federal Railroad Administration and Indiana DOT Celebrate Commencement of Construction on the Indiana...

Last week, officials from Amtrak, Norfolk Southern and the Federal Railroad Administration and Indiana Governor Mike Pence gathered to celebrate commencement of construction on the Indiana Gateway Project....more

DOT Issues Emergency Order For Transport Of Crude Oil From Bakken Shale Region (UPDATE)

On May 23, 2014, the Department of Transportation’s Federal Railroad Administration clarified its May 7, 2014, Emergency Order Regarding Notification to Communities of Bakken Crude Oil Shipments through the release of...more

FRA Reminds Potential Applicants that Buy America Applies to RRIF

On May 14, the Federal Railroad Administration (“FRA”) posted a reminder that Buy America, a domestic preference law, applies to the Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing (“RRIF”) program. FRA posted the reminder...more

Virginia Governor McAuliffe Announces State Rail Safety Task Force on Hazardous Material Transport

While federal officials continue their efforts to address railroad transportation of petroleum crude oil (crude-by-rail), Virginia intends to make a parallel but somewhat broader effort with respect to hazardous material rail...more

Department of Transportation Issues Order Requiring Rail Carriers To Notify States of Crude Shipments

In response to recent derailments of trains transporting crude, the Department of Transportation issued an emergency order pursuant to its regulatory authority over the transportation of hazardous materials. The order applies...more

Amtrak CEO Boardman Warns Hudson Rail Tunnels Have 20 Years Max Of Remaining Service

Amtrak CEO Joe Boardman is warning that one or both of the Hudson River rail tunnels will need to be shut down within the next 20 years. Boardman also noted that it would take seven to nine years to build and deliver new...more

Trails-to-Rails-to-?: The Brandt Case and its Potential Impact on the Nation’s Trails

A recent Supreme Court case may have a far-reaching impact on many of the United States’ “rails-to-trails” biking and jogging paths. In March, the Supreme Court held in an 8-1 decision that rights of way granted to railroad...more

DOT Issues Emergency Order For Transport Of Crude Oil From Bakken Shale Region

On May 7, 2014, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) issued an Emergency Order requiring all railroads operating trains containing bulk quantities of UN 1267, petroleum crude oil, Class 3, that either originates or is...more

DOT Issues Emergency Order on Bakken Crude Oil Shipments

On May 7th, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) issued an Emergency Order (EO) requiring all rail carriers to notify State Emergency Response Commissions (SERCs) regarding the expected routing of their unit trains of...more

Whistleblower Suit Filed Against Texas Railroad Commission

Frederick Wright recently sued the Texas Railroad Commission for terminating his employment in violation of state whistleblower laws. If the suit is not settled, it could attract considerable attention in Texas....more

Shippers and Railroads Express Differing Views Over Tank Car Requirements for Crude Oil by Rail at NTSB Forum

Crude oil moving on the railroads has been traditionally shipped in the tank car known as the DOT 111. However, as early as 1991, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) expressed concern over the risks associated...more

"Rails to Trails" or "Rails to Trespass": Supreme Court Speaks on the Abandonment of Certain Railroad Rights of Way

Last month, the Supreme Court of the United States (please, there is no such thing as the "United States Supreme Court") decided a very interesting case about easements. "Easements?", you ask. Yes, easements. We use them...more

Brandt Revocable Trust v. U.S. – the United States’ theory of land ownership derailed

In Brandt Revocable Trust v. U.S., the United States Supreme Court held that abandoned railway rights-of-way that had been granted to railroad companies under the General Railroad Right-of-Way Act of 1875 left underlying...more

SCOTUS: Federal Government Retains No Interest in Abandoned Railroad Rights-of-Way

Congress grants a railroad a right-of-way across public land. The federal government then grants the land to a private landowner, who takes the parcel subject to the railroad right-of-way. The railroad later...more

Supreme Court Ruling Represents Major Shift for Railroad Rights of Way

This week, the Supreme Court ruled that the United States Forest Service could not construct a trail on an abandoned railroad right of way (ROW) that crosses through private property. Brandt v. United States, No. 12-1173,...more

Oil Spill Derailments Pose Challenge For Insurers

In the past year alone, five fiery oil train derailments have made front-page news by causing both catastrophic bodily injury and property damage in rural towns across Canada and the United States, including the 74-car...more

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