STB fines CN Railway
The Surface Transportation Board on Tuesday fined Canadian National Railway Co. $250,000 for “knowingly violating Board orders” regarding the reporting of street-crossing blockages in the Chicago area.
The STB also extended its oversight regarding the CN-EJ&E merger for an additional year to January 2015.
The fine is the first ordered by the STB since its inception in 1996.
The agency requires Canadian National to report every street-crossing blockage of 10 minutes or more as a condition of the board’s approval of its 2008 acquisition of the Elgin, Joliet and Eastern Railway Co. In its November and December 2009 monthly reports, the railroad reported a total of 14 blockages caused by stopped trains. But an independent audit conducted on behalf of the STB by its third-party consultant, HDR Inc., found 1,457 instances during that same period of crossings blocked for 10 minutes or longer by stopped or slow-moving trains.
The STB said its record “supports the conclusion that CN has knowingly violated the board’s orders that CN report, on monthly and quarterly bases, the date and descriptive information for each crossing blockage exceeding 10 minutes in duration. CN’s alleged ‘good faith’ interpretation that the reporting requirements regarded only stopped trains is contradicted by both the CN staff admissions and the plain text of the Approval Decision.”
STB Member Charles Nottingham dissented from the decision to impose the fine by the two other commissioners, Chairman Daniel Elliott and Member Francis Mulvey.