(a)(1) A rail carrier providing transportation subject to the jurisdiction of the Board under this part who intends to—
(A) abandon any part of its railroad lines; or
(B) discontinue the operation of all rail transportation over any part of its railroad lines,
must file an application relating thereto with the Board. An abandonment or discontinuance may be carried out only as authorized under this chapter.
(2) When a rail carrier providing transportation subject to the jurisdiction of the Board under this part files an application, the application shall include—
(A) an accurate and understandable summary of the rail carrier's reasons for the proposed abandonment or discontinuance;
(B) a statement indicating that each interested person is entitled to make recommendations to the Board on the future of the rail line; and
(C)(i) a statement that the line is available for subsidy or sale in accordance with section 10904 of this title, (ii) a statement that the rail carrier will promptly provide to each interested party an estimate of the annual subsidy and minimum purchase price, calculated in accordance with section 10904 of this title, and (iii) the name and business address of the person who is authorized to discuss the subsidy or sale terms for the rail carrier.
(3) The rail carrier shall—
(A) send by certified mail notice of the application to the chief executive officer of each State that would be directly affected by the proposed abandonment or discontinuance;
(B) post a copy of the notice in each terminal and station on each portion of a railroad line proposed to be abandoned or over which all transportation is to be discontinued;
(C) publish a copy of the notice for 3 consecutive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation in each county in which each such portion is located;
(D) mail a copy of the notice, to the extent practicable, to all shippers that have made significant use (as designated by the Board) of the railroad line during the 12 months preceding the filing of the application; and
(E) attach to the application filed with the Board an affidavit certifying the manner in which subparagraphs (A) through (D) of this paragraph have been satisfied, and certifying that subparagraphs (A) through (D) have been satisfied within the most recent 30 days prior to the date the application is filed.
(b)(1) Except as provided in subsection (d), abandonment and discontinuance may occur as provided in section 10904.
(2) The Board shall require as a condition of any abandonment or discontinuance under this section provisions to protect the interests of employees. The provisions shall be at least as beneficial to those interests as the provisions established under sections 11326(a) and 24706(c) 1 of this title before May 31, 1998.
(c)(1) In this subsection, the term "potentially subject to abandonment" has the meaning given the term in regulations of the Board. The regulations may include standards that vary by region of the United States and by railroad or group of railroads.
(2) Each rail carrier shall maintain a complete diagram of the transportation system operated, directly or indirectly, by the rail carrier. The rail carrier shall submit to the Board and publish amendments to its diagram that are necessary to maintain the accuracy of the diagram. The diagram shall—
(A) include a detailed description of each of its railroad lines potentially subject to abandonment; and
(B) identify each railroad line for which the rail carrier plans to file an application to abandon or discontinue under subsection (a) of this section.
(d) A rail carrier providing transportation subject to the jurisdiction of the Board under this part may—
(1) abandon any part of its railroad lines; or
(2) discontinue the operation of all rail transportation over any part of its railroad lines;
only if the Board finds that the present or future public convenience and necessity require or permit the abandonment or discontinuance. In making the finding, the Board shall consider whether the abandonment or discontinuance will have a serious, adverse impact on rural and community development.
(e) Subject to this section and sections 10904 and 10905 of this title, if the Board—
(1) finds public convenience and necessity, it shall—
(A) approve the application as filed; or
(B) approve the application with modifications and require compliance with conditions that the Board finds are required by public convenience and necessity; or
(2) fails to find public convenience and necessity, it shall deny the application.
(Added Pub. L. 104–88, title I, §102(a), Dec. 29, 1995, 109 Stat. 823; amended Pub. L. 112–141, div. C, title II, §32932(b), July 6, 2012, 126 Stat. 829.)
Section 24706(c) of this title, referred to in subsec. (b)(2), was repealed by Pub. L. 105–134, title I, §142(a), Dec. 2, 1997, 111 Stat. 2576, effective 180 days after Dec. 2, 1997.
A prior section 10903, Pub. L. 95–473, Oct. 17, 1978, 92 Stat. 1403; Pub. L. 96–448, title IV, §402(a), Oct. 14, 1980, 94 Stat. 1941; Pub. L. 98–216, §2(14), Feb. 14, 1984, 98 Stat. 5; Pub. L. 103–272, §5(m)(24), July 5, 1994, 108 Stat. 1378, related to authorizing abandonment and discontinuance of railroad lines and rail transportation.
2012—Subsec. (b)(2). Pub. L. 112–141 substituted "24706(c) of this title before May 31, 1998" for "24706(c) of this title".
Amendment by Pub. L. 112–141 effective Oct. 1, 2012, see section 3(a) of Pub. L. 112–141, set out as an Effective and Termination Dates of 2012 Amendment note under section 101 of Title 23, Highways.
Pub. L. 97–102, title IV, §402, Dec. 23, 1981, 95 Stat. 1465, as amended by Pub. L. 102–143, title III, §343, Oct. 28, 1991, 105 Stat. 948, provided that: "Notwithstanding any other provision of law or of this Act, none of the funds provided in this or any other Act shall hereafter be used by the Interstate Commerce Commission to approve railroad branchline abandonments in the State of North Dakota by the entity generally known as the Burlington Northern Railroad, or its agents or assignees, in excess of a total of 350 miles, except that exempt abandonments and discontinuances that are effectuated pursuant to section 1152.50 of title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations after the date of enactment of the Department of Transportation and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 1992 [Oct. 28, 1991], shall not apply toward such 350-mile limit: Provided, That this section shall be in lieu of section 311 (amendment numbered 93) as set forth in the conference report and the joint explanatory statement of the committee of conference on the Department of Transportation and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 1982 (H.R. 4209), filed in the House of Representatives on November 13, 1981 (H. Rept. No. 97–331)." [Section 311 of H.R. 4209 is section 311 of Pub. L. 97–102, title III, Dec. 23, 1981, 95 Stat. 1460, which is not classified to the Code.] Similar provisions were contained in Pub. L. 97–92, title IV, §115, Dec. 15, 1981, 95 Stat. 1196.
[Interstate Commerce Commission abolished and functions of Commission transferred, except as otherwise provided in Pub. L. 104–88, to Surface Transportation Board effective Jan. 1, 1996, by section 1302 of this title, and section 101 of Pub. L. 104–88, set out as a note under section 1301 of this title. References to Interstate Commerce Commission deemed to refer to Surface Transportation Board, a member or employee of the Board, or Secretary of Transportation, as appropriate, see section 205 of Pub. L. 104–88, set out as a note under section 1301 of this title.]
1 See References in Text note below.