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Canada Proposes Modifying Data Collected from Railroads

Proposed rule would require the six major Class I railroads to provide additional service data

2 Lisa Selfie December 2020 Headshot
Photo: Canadian Pacific Railroad
Photo: Canadian Pacific Railroad

On May 6, Transport Canada, the department within the Canadian government charged with developing transportation policies, proposed to modify the data it collects from Class I railroads.

Currently, Transport Canada collects rail service data resembling that of the Surface Transportation Board (STB), such as train speeds by train type, terminal dwell times and origin dwell times.

The Canadian agency also collects waybill data. The proposed rule would require the six major Class I railroads to provide additional service data, including first-mile/last-mile performance, route performance and asset utilization.

The proposal also would align the scope of the service and waybill data collected from railroads to the size of their operations in Canada (i.e., smaller Class I railroads in Canada would have reduced reporting requirements).

The proposed changes are open to a 60-day public consultation period.

STB proposes rule changes in U.S.

The Surface Transportation Board (STB) announced in May that it will require all seven Class 1 railroads to send regular progress reports on service, operations and employment while the STB assesses the need for further action to help resolve current service problems.

In addition, BNSF Railway Co. (BNSF), CSX Transportation (CSX), Norfolk Southern Railway (NS), and Union Pacific Railroad (UP) are required to submit service recovery plans, progress reports, historical data, and participate in bi-weekly conference calls with STB staff.

These measures are meant to inform STB's assessment of further actions that may be warranted to address the acute service issues facing the rail industry and to promote industry-wide transparency, accountability and improvements in rail service.

In comments submitted May 23 to the STB, the National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) supported the proposal to amend STB's emergency service regulations.

The NGFA noted the new measures would empower the board to act more efficiently and effectively during rail service emergencies.

“The NGFA urges the board to issue final rules in this proceeding as quickly as possible, given that the current rail service crisis in the United States and the substantial harm it is causing to NGFA members, other rail shippers, and the country’s economy as a whole, is showing no signs of abating anytime soon,” NGFA stated

This decision follows extensive testimony on severe rail service issues reported by a wide range of witnesses — including agricultural, energy and other shippers, as well as government officials, rail labor, and rail experts — during STB’s April 26 and 27, 2022 public hearing in Urgent Issues in Freight Rail Service.

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