MRL Rails one step nearer to return to BNSF

written by

Maribeth Luczak, Govt Editor

(Map courtesy of MRL through STB submitting Nov. 18)

In January Montana Rail Hyperlink (MRL) introduced that it might terminate the long-term lease with BNSF to function on the principle line between Huntley, Mont., and Sandpoint, Idaho. Now, it’s asking for Floor Transport Board (STB) authorization.

Because the freight market has developed, greater than 90% of freight visitors shifting on MRL is on BNSF trains, MRL defined earlier this 12 months. The strains it has operated for greater than 35 years have “change into a significant hyperlink in BNSF’s northern transcontinental community, transporting grain, client and industrial merchandise to the West Coast,” reported the railroad. railway age2013 Regional of the Yr. With MRL terminating its lease and BNSF resuming operations, “BNSF will eradicate the necessity to transfer freight between the 2 railroads, strengthen provide chain resilience and enhance rail capability within the Pacific Northwest.”

In MRL’s November 18 waiver submitting with the STB (scroll all the way down to obtain), it seeks to terminate the lease on roughly 656.47 miles of non-contiguous mainline rail line owned by BNSF (see map above ). This additionally consists of:

  • Huntley, Mont. (mp 209.91) from Spurling, Mont. (MP 17.8) (“First Subdivision”).
  • Spurling, Mont. (mp 17.8) Helena, Mont. (MP 238.4) (“Second Subdivision”).
  • Helena, Mont. (mp 0.0) Missoula, Mont. (MP 119.31) (“Third Subdivision”)
  • Missoula, Mont. (MP 119.31) Sandpoint Junction, Idaho (MP 118.7) (“Fourth Subdivision”).
  • De Smet, Mont. (MP 0.0) to Paradise, Mont. (MP 64.27) (“tenth subdivision”)
  • Laurel, Mont. (MP 15.15) South of Laurel, Mont. (MP 514.47). Moss Maine, Mont. (MP 0.00) at some extent north of Moss Foremost, Mont. (mp 0.50)

Moreover, MRL seeks to cede its bridge-only trackage rights over roughly 96.04 miles of rail line owned by BNSF in Montana, Idaho and Washington, which incorporates the next segments (collectively known as the Trackage Rights Line):

  • Spokane, Wash., from Sand Level, Idaho (mp 2.79). (mp3 68.17)
  • MP 68.17 to MP 69.0 close to Spokane, Wash.
  • From MP 0.74 to MP 1.0 close to Moss Maine, Mont.
  • MP 51.07 from close to Garrison, Mont. MP 21.5, simply south of Heat Springs, Mont.

MRL wrote within the submitting that it “has obtained leasehold rights and trackage rights on BNSF-owned strains beforehand waived by the board and its predecessor, the ICC. [Interstate Commerce Commission], MRL and BNSF have mutually agreed to terminate sure lease and trackage rights agreements governing these MRL operations. Upon termination of the MRL lease and discontinuation of MRL service on the leased premises, BNSF will resume regular service operations on the leased premises. BNSF presently operates widespread service service on the trackage rights strains and can proceed to take action after the termination and termination of MRL’s trackage rights.

In line with MRL, the strains presently serve roughly 125 energetic shippers, “none of which shall be adversely affected by BNSF’s resumption of operations.” MRL and BNSF are “cooperating totally to make sure an orderly transition of service in order that there isn’t a interruption of rail service or antagonistic affect on shippers,” Regional defined within the submitting.

MRL has roughly 1,100 staff. 962 of them are unionized and are represented by 9 labor organizations: the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET); American Prepare Dispatchers Affiliation; Brotherhood of Upkeep of Route Employees; Worldwide Union of Machinists; Brotherhood of Railway Carmen; Nationwide Convention of Firemen and Oilers; Worldwide Brotherhood of Electrical Employees; Brotherhood of Railway Signalmen; and Transportation Communications Affiliation. MRL defined within the submitting that it “has reached voluntary implementation agreements with every of its unions that the events meet the necessities of Article I, Part 4, of the Oregon Quick Line.” [employee protective] circumstances.”

Moreover, MRL and BNSF “have agreed that BNSF will provide employment to all union and non-union MRL staff at their present jobs with comparable pay, advantages, seniority rights and different materials phrases of employment,” regional informed STB. “The Implementation Settlement between MRL and its unions assumes that BNSF will present comparable employment to MRL staff. So as to encourage MRL staff to just accept employment with BNSF, the MRL Implementation Settlement offers for workers who settle for such employment in Oregon present supplemental advantages past the quick line circumstances. Staff who don’t settle for BNSF employment are lined underneath the usual circumstances of the Oregon Quick Line. (In October, the “overwhelming majority” of taking part BLET members served on the MRL Ratified an implementing settlement with BNSF and the Oregon Quick Line Protecting Settlement concerning the restoration of.)

MRL informed the STB it proposed to “guarantee a clean transition of service, topic to coordination with BNSF, to terminate the termination on or after the efficient date of any Board determination approving this petition”. Have achieved “MRL is unaware of any public curiosity components that may weigh in opposition to the Board approving the topic petition.”

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