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STB requires BNSF, NS, and UP to continue to provide detailed service progress reports

WASHINGTON — Federal regulators will require BNSF Railway, Norfolk Southern, and Union Pacific to continue to provide biweekly service progress reports through the end of the year.

The Surface Transportation Board, in a decision released today, said the three systems had not yet made enough progress toward the operations, service, and employment goals they had hoped to reach this month.

But the board let CSX Transportation off the hook, noting that the Eastern railroad consistently has been meeting most of its service improvement targets for several months. CSX, like Canadian National and CPKC, will only be required to provide the STB with expanded weekly performance data and monthly employment figures.

“This is a clear affirmation from the STB of CSX’s leading service performance among the four U.S. Class Is and a direct result of our focus on improving the work experience of our railroaders and improving the reliability and overall quality of the service we provide to our customers,” CSX spokesman Bryan Tucker says.

The STB began requiring the railroads to provide more detailed operating metrics last May amid widespread service problems caused by crew shortages on the big four U.S. railroads. The order was extended in October.

“BNSF, NSR, and UP performance data show continued service challenges relative to the targets the carriers set for their own service improvement by the end of the current temporary reporting period,” the board said in its decision. “While data submitted in recent weeks show some improvement for some performance indicators, these carriers generally are not meeting their service performance targets on average. Therefore, and because service issues continue to affect the network, the Board finds that it must continue to monitor service performance and hiring efforts.”

NS has reached its train and engine crew hiring goals and UP is close to its target, while BNSF has yet to reach any of its employment goals, the STB noted.

The board said that the extended reporting requirements will help it determine whether additional hearings are required.