[Federal Register Volume 63, Number 247 (Thursday, December 24, 1998)]
[Pages 71340-71341]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 98-34022]



Surface Transportation Board
[STB Docket No. AB-57 (Sub-No. 44X)]

Soo Line Railroad Company--Abandonment Exemption--in St. Louis 
County, MN

    Soo Line Railroad Company (Soo) has filed a notice of exemption 
under 49 CFR 1152 Subpart F--Exempt Abandonments to abandon an 
approximately 1.18+/-mile portion of the West Duluth Line between 
milepost 464.25+/ and milepost 465.43+/ in West Duluth, St. Louis, 
County, MN.1 The line traverses United States Postal Service 
Zip Code 55802.

    \1\ Pursuant to 49 CFR 1150.50(d)(2), the railroad must file a 
verified notice with the Board at least 50 days before the 
abandonment or discontinuance is to be consummated. The applicant in 
its verified notice, indicated a proposed consummation date of 
January 25, 1999. However, because the verified notice was filed on 
December 7, 1998, consummation may not take place prior to January 
26, 1999. Applicant's representative has been contacted and has 
confirmed that the correct consummation date is on or after January 
26, 1999.

    Soo has certified that: (1) No local traffic has moved over the 
line for at least 2 years; (2) any overhead traffic formerly handled on 
the line can be rerouted over other lines; (3) no formal complaint 
filed by a user of rail service on the line (or by a state or local 
government entity acting on behalf of such user) regarding cessation of 
service over the line either is pending with the Surface Transportation 
Board (Board) or with any U.S. District Court or has been decided in 
favor of complainant within the 2-year period; and (4) the requirements 
at 49 CFR 1105.7 (environmental reports), 49 CFR 1105.8 (historic 
reports), 49 CFR 1105.11 (transmittal letter), 49 CFR 1105.12 
(newspaper publication), and 49 CFR 1152.50(d)(1) (notice to 
governmental agencies) have been met.
    As a condition to this exemption, any employee adversely affected 
by the abandonment shall be protected under Oregon Short Line R. Co.--
Abandonment--Goshen, 360 I.C.C. 91 (1979). To address whether this 
condition adequately protects affected employees, a petition for 
partial revocation under 49 U.S.C. 10502(d) must be filed. Provided no 
formal expression of intent to file an offer of financial assistance 
(OFA) has been received, this exemption will be effective on January 
23, 1999, unless stayed pending reconsideration. Petitions to stay that 
do not involve environmental issues,2 formal expressions of 
intent to file an OFA under 49 CFR 1152.27(c)(2),3 and trail 
use/rail banking requests under 49 CFR 1152.29 must be filed by January 
4, 1999. Petitions to reopen or requests for public use conditions 
under 49 CFR 1152.28 must be filed by January 13,

[[Page 71341]]

1999, with: Surface Transportation Board, Office of the Secretary, Case 
Control Unit, 1925 K Street, NW, Washington, DC 20423.

    \2\ The Board will grant a stay if an informed decision on 
environmental issues (whether raised by a party or by the Board's 
Section of Environmental Analysis in its independent investigation) 
cannot be made before the exemption's effective date. See Exemption 
of Out-of-Service Rail Lines, 5 I.C.C.2d 377 (1989). Any request for 
a stay should be filed as soon as possible so that the Board may 
take appropriate action before the exemption's effective date.
    \3\ Each offer of financial assistance must be accompanied by 
the filing fee, which currently is set at $1000. See 49 CFR 

    A copy of any petition filed with the Board should be sent to 
applicant's representative: Larry D. Starns, Esq., Leonard, Street and 
Deinard Professional Association, 150 South Fifth Street, Suite 2300, 
Minneapolis, MN 55402.
    If the verified notice contains false or misleading information, 
the exemption is void ab initio.
    Soo has filed an environmental report which addresses the 
abandonments effects, if any, on the environment and historic 
resources. The Section of Environmental Analysis (SEA) will issue an 
environmental assessment (EA) by December 29, 1998. Interested persons 
may obtain a copy of the EA by writing to SEA (Room 500, Surface 
Transportation Board, Washington, DC 20423) or by calling SEA, at (202) 
565-1545. Comments on environmental and historic preservation matters 
must be filed within 15 days after the EA becomes available to the 
    Environmental, historic preservation, public use, or trail use/rail 
banking conditions will be imposed, where appropriate, in a subsequent 
    Pursuant to the provisions of 49 CFR 1152.29(e)(2), Soo shall file 
a notice of consummation with the Board to signify that it has 
exercised the authority granted and fully abandoned the line. If 
consummation has not been effected by Soo's filing of a notice of 
consummation by December 24, 1999, and there are no legal or regulatory 
barriers to consummation, the authority to abandon will automatically 
    Board decisions and notices are available on our website at 

    Decided: December 17, 1998.

    By the Board, David M. Konschnik, Director, Office of 
Vernon A. Williams,
[FR Doc. 98-34022 Filed 12-23-98; 8:45 am]