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Public Notice - Notice of Intent to Discontinue Rail Service - The Blacklands Railroad - 9/19/2019

The Blacklands Railroad (BLR) gives notice that on or about September 16, 2019, it intends to file with the Surface Transportation Board, Washington, DC  20423,

a petition for exemption under 49 U.S.C. 10502 from the prior approval requirements of 49 U.S. 10903, et seq. permitting the discontinuance of BLR’s operating rights over a line of railroad owned by Northeast Texas Rural Rail Transportation District (“NETEX”) extending from Greenville (Simtrott) Texas, at or near milepost 555.0 to Winfield, Texas at or near milepost 489.41, along with overhead trackage rights over Union Pacific Railroad Company (“UP”) between Winfield at or near milepost 489.41 to a UP interchange at Mount Pleasant, Texas at or near milepost 479.0, a total distance of approximately 76.0 route miles (the “NETEX Line”), traversing United States Postal Service ZIP Codes 75455, 75493, 75457, 75478, 75482, 75433, 75428, 75401, and 75402 in Hunt, Delta, Hopkins, Franklin and Titus Counties, Texas.  NETEX is a common carrier by rail over the entirety of the NETEX Line and retains the residual common carrier obligation to provide rail service to customers after BLR’s discontinuance of service.  Separately, BLR leases directly from UP a portion of the NETEX Line between approximately milepost 489.40 and milepost 481.5. Those operations are not involved in this docket, and will be unaffected by the discontinuance.  The proceeding will be docketed as AB-1108 (Sub-No. 1X).
The proposed discontinuance is exempt from the Board’s environmental and historic reporting requirements.  49 C.F.R. 1105.6(c) and 1105.8(b).  Interested persons may make inquiries regarding environmental matters by writing to the Office of Environmental Analysis, Surface Transportation Board, Washington, DC 20423 or by calling that office at 202 245-0291.
Appropriate offers of financial assistance to continue rail service can be filed with the Board.  Public use conditions and rail banking/trails use are not available in proceedings involving only a discontinuance and not an abandonment.  An original and 10 copies of any pleading that raises matters other than environmental issues (such as offers of financial assistance) must be filed directly with the Board’s Section of Administration, Office of Proceedings, 395 E Street, S.W., Washington, DC 20423-0001 [see 49 C.F.R. 1104.1(a) and 1104.3(a)], and one copy must be served on BLR’s representative [see 49 C.F.R. 1104.12(a)].  Questions regarding offers of financial assistance or the Board’s discontinuance procedures may be directed to the Board’s Office of Public Assistance, Governmental Affairs & Compliance at 202-245-0238.  Copies of any comments or requests for conditions should be served on BLR’s representative at the following address:
Thomas J. Litwiler, Esq.
Fletcher & Sippel LLC
29 North Wacker Drive, Suite 800
Chicago, Illinois  60606-3208
(312) 252-1500