As a result of last year’s national rail negotiations, some TD freight rail members have gained — for the first time — paid sick leave benefits for train and engine workers for U.S.-based carriers on the East Coast.

In late April, GO-049 Mid-Atlantic District members ratified the first agreement for freight rail operating employees to receive paid sick days.

The agreement with CSX set a historic precedent, providing for five paid sick days, adding an option to convert personal days to sick days and cashing out sick time at the end of the year.

The lack of paid sick time within the railroad industry was highlighted in the media in 2022, when workers rejected a tentative national agreement that covered most railroad carriers and labor organizations, almost leading to a shutdown of the nation’s vital supply chain.

The operating crafts (which include engineers, conductors and trainmen) have what is perceived as the most demanding of working conditions of the railroad crafts due to the travel requirements, extreme weather conditions and the on-call nature of their positions. This agreement establishes a benefit in the railroad industry that many American workers already enjoy.

In addition to paid sick time, the agreement, which covers approximately 2,400 conductors and trainmen on CSX Northern line, also adopts the current attendance policy put in place by CSX into the collective bargaining agreement. Railroads in the past have been reluctant to negotiate attendance; this is another first for the operating workforce, as it subjects the former policy (now agreement) to negotiations if any changes are desired by either the carrier or the employees in the future.

“It’s refreshing and impressive to see the overwhelming support of the membership on this tentative agreement. It is also encouraging that SMART-TD and CSX leadership were able to sit down at the table and reach a consensus on items as important as these. I am hopeful this momentum will carry forward in future negotiations and help us collectively improve the working conditions and overall morale at CSX,” General Chairperson Richard Lee said.

Two other CSX committees, GOs 513 and 851, also reached similar tentative agreements in late May.

All Norfolk Southern operating general committees have ratified an agreement and completed negotiations with the carrier gaining five paid sick days, additional financial compensation and addressing scheduling and quality-of-life concerns. Yardmasters also reached an agreement that provides paid sick time.

UP GO reaches crew-consist agreement

Out west, GO-953 ratified a crew-consist agreement, preserving the in-cab role of the conductor until national negotiations reopen. The ratified agreement provides for a substantial signing bonus, work protections and no rules changes regarding road/yard switching.

General Chairperson Luke Edington of Local 286 (North Platte, Neb.) negotiated the successful agreement with assistance from Vice General Chairperson Zach Nagy and Vice President Brent Leonard.

GO-953 has members in 48 TD locals and represents workers in Union Pacific’s Eastern, Pacific Northwest and Idaho territories (former Chicago-Northwestern Railway Co.), Kyle, Nebraska Central and Portland Terminal railroads and the Wichita Terminal Association.

Property-specific negotiations continue with BNSF and remaining segments of CSX and UP, while talks with Norfolk Southern have concluded. The SMART website will continue to be updated with the latest information about continued negotiations and the substantial gains these agreements bring to our members’ quality of life.

CSX facts

  • Five paid sick days with option to convert two personal days
  • Unused sick days converted to cash
  • Incorporates more lenient carrier attendance policy
  • Covers ~2,400 members

UP facts

  • A $27,500 signing bonus upon the contract’s ratification
  • Continues to require the conductor’s position as being based in the cab of the locomotive
  • 30 years of protections for brakemen/switchmen, with assignments abolished

NS facts

  • T&E workers get five paid sick days with the option to convert up to two personal leave days to on-demand sick days
  • Unused personal leave days can now be carried over and accumulated indefinitely, with no limitations
  • Yardmasters get four paid sick days with the option to convert up to three personal leave days

A confusing scenario has played out in the Midwest this week involving the Union Pacific Railroad and its intention to create a new position in Kansas and Nebraska.

The truth of the matter is that UP is creating new positions; however, the positions being created are in addition to their current road and yard crews, not as a replacement for road conductors.

These utility positions will have the ability to assist road crews in addition to the standard utility role of working within yards. The utility jobs pay well and are additional scheduled positions that are not replacing the role of the traditional conductor on road trains.

The Associated Press (AP) ran a headline this week stating these utility jobs were the enactment of the UP’s now-infamous nomadic “Expediter” position which was the plan they made public last December before FRA to take conductors off road trains. Ironically, the recent article the AP ran was based on comments made by a member of UP management at a hearing in Topeka, Kansas that was making the state’s 2PC regulation the law throughout Kansas.

With this as the backdrop, it is difficult to understand how some have interpreted the statement of the executive as an announcement that UP was ready to come out of the world of poorly made YouTube videos and into the reality of American railroading and that the union had suddenly changed its position on a minimum crew size, but that is apparently what happened in some’s minds.

UP officer Jason Pinder’s imprecise statements during Monday’s public hearing on the Kansas Administrative Regulation that finalized our union’s successful efforts to bring 2PC to Kansas caused all this. Coverage of Pinder’s take on the new utility positions reasonably made railroaders in the region ask themselves the question, “Who do I trust the least, rail executives, or the media?” The answer is that you should check the sources for both!

Luckily for all involved and for accuracy’s sake, SMART-TD was well-represented at this hearing and is able to give first-hand details of what went on from not only Kansas State Legislative Director Ty Dragoo, but also Luke Edington, general chairperson of GO-953, who negotiated the UP crew-consist agreement for SMART-TD. These two leaders are intimately aware of what UP can and cannot do with these new utility workers. They are among the men who put in the time and effort to guarantee UP cannot, under any circumstances, remove conductors from the cab of the locomotive.

Brother Edington took the quotes from Pinder personally and did not appreciate the confusion the words of the ill-informed “railroader” caused for his members. Responding to what the AP published, Edington fired off a letter to UP’s CEO Lance Fritz. In his correspondence, Brother Edington pointed out that this new utility position “may only assist Conductors and Foreman with duties.” He added that his office has “not agreed to a ‘pilot program’ for redeploying conductors as Mr. Pinder alleges.”

Edington wants it to be clear to all involved, including Lance Fritz, that SMART-TD agreed to expand the utility assignment so it could assist road conductors as well as conductors and foremen on local and yard assignments. We stand firm and continue to maintain that two on the crew is the safest course of operations. We did not and will not agree to give away our members’ jobs!

See below the letter GC Edington sent to Fritz.

INDEPENDENCE, Ohio — The International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers — Transportation Division (SMART-TD) is proud to announce a Tentative Agreement (TA) has been reached with the Union Pacific Railroad that, among other things, provides paid sick leave to about 6,000 of UP’s conductors and trainmen. SMART-TD President Jeremy Ferguson is calling this TA a win for the quality of life for thousands of railroaders on the frontline of America’s economy today and for generations to come.

The Union Pacific general chairpersons met in the SMART-TD board room during their negotiation sessions. On the left side of table are General Chairperson Scott Chelette (GO-927), General Chairperson Joey Cornelius (GO-569) and General Chairperson Gary Crest (GO-887). On the right side are General Chairperson Roy Davis (GO-577), and General Chairperson Luke Edington (GO-953). 

“Our members made it very clear in 2022 that quality-of-life issues and the ability to provide stability for their families in times of medical crisis was of the utmost importance. On-demand sick days that do not amount to discipline from their employer are a historic step in the right direction for these men and women, and I am very proud of the effort that our General Chairmen on the UP properties put in to make this happen,” Ferguson said.

“In this industry, everything is earned, and nothing is given. These five GCs worked tirelessly to get this TA done for our SMART-TD rail members. This organization listens to our members and their voices guide our mission 100% of the time. Today is a great example of us being able to impose our conductors and trainmen’s will on the carriers to bring them a better quality of life and peace of mind for their families.”

“Union Pacific has been running freight trains in this country since Lincoln signed the Pacific Railway Act in 1862. Today for the first time they have agreed to provide their frontline employees with the dignity of paid sick leave. It’s a proud day for our men and women.”

SMART-TD President Jeremy R. Ferguson

UP, which is the largest freight railroad in the U.S., has 45,400 employees. The TA announced will affect upwards of 5,900 conductors and trainmen.

For his part in the TA negotiation, General Chairman Roy Davis of GO-557 said: “It took a lot of hard work to get here, but in the end, it all came together. All five of the UP General Chairs stuck together in these negotiations and it paid off with this great TA.” Brother Davis also added that “It only took UP about 160 years to figure out that people get sick and that it doesn’t make sense to fire them for it!”

Brother Scott Chelette, GC of GA-927, wanted it to be highlighted that: “The three medical occurrences we negotiated for in December’s contract didn’t help our members in assigned service. With this TA, we were able to convert them into on-demand sick days available to assigned and unassigned boards alike. Now our yardmen and all our road crews can benefit from these days without UP being able to deny the requests.” Chelette also wanted it known that this win wasn’t just accomplished by himself and the other four GCs.

“This truly was a team effort. Not only were we successful in having all 5 GCs stick together in the negotiations, but our legislative team was a big part of this,” he said. “The State Legislative Directors across UP’s territory as well as Greg Hynes and Jared Cassity in the National Legislative office worked behind the scenes to get Congress and state officials to apply pressure on UP to bargain with us in good faith. When you have the legislative team working hard and the membership amplifying their message every step of the way about our quality-of-life concerns, this TA is the kind of product we can achieve as a strong labor organization.”

Brother Luke Edington GC of GO-953, said: “All told, this TA provides our members with an unprecedented 8 days of on-demand paid leave for illness and well-being. This is the kind of achievement that makes the countless hours of work we put into this union movement worthwhile. This improvement to SMART-TD frontline workers’ lives is what makes it worthwhile answering the alarm clock every day of our careers.”

General Chairman Joe Cornelius of GCA 569 said: “We put a lot of time and thought in to make sure that everyone got cut in on this deal. The TA really is a win/win for our members. If they get sick, they can take a day off and not worry about losing that day’s pay, and for the first time, they won’t have to worry about being assigned any points toward discipline. One of the perks to this agreement that we insisted on is that it isn’t a ‘use-it or lose-it’ scenario. All unused sick days can be banked up to 60 days that keep rolling. If a member accumulates more than 60 unused days, UP will cut them a check to cash out the excess days. It’s a great parachute to have a 60-day buffer when things go wrong medically.”

Brother Gary Crest, GC of GO-887, said: “This TA has been a long time coming. It took 160 years to get here, but we aren’t done yet. There’s still a lot of work left to do to bring this railroad into the 21st century, and we are determined to do it.”

“I want to thank SMART-TD leadership for their support as we work together to create an environment where employees feel valued, supported and empowered to deliver exceptional service to our customers,” said Lance Fritz, Union Pacific chairman, president and CEO. “We are committed to continued collaboration with our labor partners and employees to further identify opportunities that support our best-in-class workforce.”

Please see the attached document to see the highlights of the tentative agreement. Local chairpersons will be receiving the verbiage soon and they will be providing it to the members for review as they consider ratification of the agreement.

SMART Transportation Division members represented by GO-953 who work on Union Pacific’s Eastern District, Pacific Northwest, and Idaho Territories ratified a crew-consist agreement that preserves the in-cab conductor position that had been at the center of a court battle and targeted by the carrier for transfer to a nomadic “expediter” role.

The three crafts participating in the vote approved the new contract with more than two-thirds (68.16% aggregate) voting in favor of ratification.

The ratified contract provides for:

  • A $27,500 signing bonus upon the contract’s ratification.
  • Continues to require the conductor’s position as being based in the cab of the locomotive.
  • 30 years of protections for brakemen/switchmen who have assignments abolished.
  • Continued use of brakemen/switchmen as needed.
  • No rules changes regarding switching between road and yard crews
  • Additional pay for assigned road and yard service performed with a reduced crew.
  • Expanded utility position that is paid $50.00 per hour and has a set schedule.
  • Overtime in pool freight.

General Chairperson Luke Edington of Local 286 (North Platte, Neb.) negotiated the successful agreement with assistance from Vice General Chairperson Zach Nagy and Vice President Brent Leonard.

“This was a challenging process, but the result is a contract that our members found to be to their satisfaction,” Edington said. “The conductor’s role is preserved at least until the next round of Section 6 notices in 2024.”

SMART-TD Vice President Brent Leonard had this reaction to ratification of GO-953’s agreement: “This agreement serves to protect the train & yard service crafts and ensures these crafts as the crafts of the future. SMART-TD is the only transportation craft with agreements protecting their position now and into the future and does so without tying their position to that of another craft. Despite the efforts of outsiders who tried to prevent train & yardmen from becoming the highest-paid railroad craft employees, SMART-TD members recognized their value and secured their future. I commend the SMART-TD members for recognizing this and overwhelmingly ratifying the agreement. SMART-TD will continue to lead and secure the future for our members.”

When GC Edington made the vote count known, SMART-TD President Jeremy Ferguson reacted by saying, “I am very pleased by the membership’s decision to ratify this agreement that all of the involved SMART-TD officers worked so diligently on making the best possible agreement we can all be proud of, while securing our member’s future. All of their hard work proves why we’re the biggest, the best and the first. Failure of the agreement would have led to a reopening of mediation over the carrier’s prior Section 6 notice and exposed the conductor’s position to the potential ‘redeployment’ that Union Pacific had sought.”

GO-953 has members in 48 TD locals and represents workers in Union Pacific’s Eastern, Pacific Northwest and Idaho territories (former Chicago-Northwestern Railway Co.), Kyle, Nebraska Central and Portland Terminal railroads and the Wichita Terminal Association.

Lance Fritz, president and chief executive officer of the Union Pacific Railroad, is on his way out the door after announcing in late February that he will vacate his office by the end of 2023. Though there is no publicly announced date for his departure, his hand is on the ripcord and he’s preparing to deploy that golden parachute.

That being said, SMART Transportation Division Colorado State Legislative Director Carl Smith didn’t want Fritz to go without a little something to remember his legislative committee by. But rather than going with the cliché of getting Fritz a ritzy timepiece and a handshake, he rented a digital billboard truck to track Fritz around Colorado for four days in early April.

As Fritz took the executive business car around Smith’s state, he was escorted by the billboard truck that showed rotating signs that featured several messages regarding Colorado’s rejection of Precision Scheduled Railroading (PSR), such as “Our Mile-High State Doesn’t Need 3 mile-long trains!” and, “It can happen here too!” with pictures of the derailment and hazmat spill in East Palestine, Ohio. Messages on the truck’s rolling billboards included a QR code that could be scanned by anyone who saw it and took people directly to the SMART Legislative Action Center, where people could support national rail safety legislation.

The truck made several stops mirroring Fritz’s Mile High State tour. First, the truck went to the Rocky Mountain Train Show at the National Western Complex in Denver. Per the train show’s website, this event averages 11,000 attendees as the largest train show west of the Mississippi River. SLD Smith had the truck there both days of the show and prompted many discussions among the train enthusiasts in attendance.

The truck stayed in Denver over the weekend but did not only target the good people attending the show. It also made its way to three governmental functions. On Saturday, the truck and its messages could be seen circling Colorado’s statehouse as legislators were holding a rare weekend session. Additionally, the truck’s presence was felt at the Colorado Democratic Assembly meeting in Denver. On Saturday evening there was a large gathering of legislators and dignitaries at what is called the Colorado Obama Gala which features the former president and all the press that naturally follows him. As you might have guessed, Smith made sure SMART-TD’s anti-PSR message crashed that, too.

On April 3, Fritz and his entourage took UP’s business train to LaSalle, Colo., for a meeting. If they thought not being in Denver would spare them the presence of Smith’s billboard truck, they were undoubtedly disappointed that it had made the 50-mile journey north to greet them in LaSalle.

On April 4, Fritz held a legislative breakfast meeting on the business train. Brother Smith and his truck made sure they made their presence felt their too. UP’s attempt to get these legislators’ undivided attention was disrupted by the Smith’s inconvenient reminder that there are real-world consequences attached to the empty rhetoric of the rail carriers and their lobbyists try to sell.

The graphics for the signs were put together in house by SMART-TD’s PR staff, and the cost for the truck was shared between the Colorado State Legislative committee, Local 202 out of Denver and other local boards of adjustment.

This effort on the part of the Colorado Legislative Committee was not all about making departing CEO Fritz and co. aware of SMART-TD’s objections to the way they run a railroad, and the public awareness the truck created throughout the state has an additional purpose.

Brother Smith has a three-pronged bill to be introduced in the halls of Colorado’s Legislature. His bill looks to directly undo some of the basic problems our faces in the era of PSR. The legislation has not been assigned a bill number yet, but seeks to limit train lengths, regulate the use of hot box defect detectors in the state and bring about penalties for the carriers to discourage blocked crossings.

Getting his box truck in front of as many Colorado voters, and news cameras as possible was a unique and creative kickoff to Smith’s campaign to get this important legislation the momentum it needs.

SMART-TD wants to thank Brother Smith, Local 202, and all the men and women who made this possible. We look forward to reporting on the progress of your bill as it makes its way through the process of becoming the law of the land in the great state of Colorado, and we hope you never stop fighting for our members!

Agreement with SMART-TD provides greater flexibility for railroad, improves service for customers and enhances quality of life for employees 

OMAHA, Neb., (March 25, 2023) — Union Pacific has reached a tentative crew consist agreement with General Committee 953, part of its largest union, The International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers — Transportation Division (SMART-TD). 

The proposed agreement makes no changes to the current conductor position staffing each train as part of a two-person crew, provides long term job protection to current employees and gives the railroad greater flexibility to deploy brake or switch persons to work either in the yard or outside the yard. The proposed agreement, if ratified, closes Union Pacific’s current Section 6 Notice to redeploy Conductors on this committee.

“We are pleased that Union Pacific is focusing on quality of life for our conductor workforce,” said Jeremy Ferguson, president of SMART-TD. “Along with the scheduling enhancements, which were part of last year’s national agreements, we have an opportunity to positively impact our conductors by giving them fixed days off and greater certainty about their weekly assignments.”

“This agreement with SMART-TD reflects Union Pacific’s commitment to enhance the quality of life for our employees through predictable, scheduled shift work while giving us greater scheduling flexibility that will also improve customer service,” said Beth Whited, executive vice president – Sustainability and Strategy and CHRO. “We are working to finalize the contract details as quickly as possible.”


Union Pacific (NYSE: UNP) delivers the goods families and businesses use every day with safe, reliable and efficient service. Operating in 23 western states, the company connects its customers and communities to the global economy. Trains are the most environmentally responsible way to move freight, helping Union Pacific protect future generations. More information about Union Pacific is available at


SMART Transportation Division is comprised of approximately 125,000 active and retired members who work in a variety of different crafts in the transportation industry. These crafts include employees on every Class I railroad, Amtrak, many shortline railroads, bus and mass transit employees and airport personnel. More information about the union is available at

“From the Ballast” is an open column for SMART Transportation Division rail members to state their perspective on issues related to the railroad industry. Members of the union are encouraged to submit content by emailing to Columns are published at the union’s discretion and may be published in the SMART TD newspaper.

Why is it so hard to hire people into jobs that companies are actively trying to eliminate?


This seems to be a question that answers itself, yet it remains the paradox that currently defines the railroad industry. Railroad companies all over the United States have two things in common.

First: They are desperate to attract talented workers to the industry to fulfil the needs of a self-created labor shortage.

Second: They are openly requesting permission from the Federal Railroad Administration to eliminate the profession that they want to fill (and have been doing so for quite some time).

It’s not all that difficult to see why the second item makes it almost impossible to achieve the first. Signing bonuses are a wonderful incentive to short-sighted job seekers, but men and women seeking a career path have no incentive to leave their current job to work for a railroad when they are being told their prospective employer is investing millions of R&D dollars and in lobbying with the intent of making their new profession go the way of the dinosaur.

No high-priced ad campaign and no tantalizing signing bonus can make this truth go away. The amount of press coverage that came about in 2022 during national contract negotiations has placed this industry-wide contradiction into a national spotlight.

On December 14th in Washington D.C., Union Pacific unveiled before the FRA, their now-infamous YouTube video that highlights the “advantages” of ground-based expeditors over the time-tested institution of an in-cab freight conductor during a hearing on the two-person crew rulemaking. This video was a wake-up call to many railroaders that the Class I’s were no longer speaking hypothetically about removing conductors from the cab of America’s locomotives. They were actively and aggressively pursuing it.

The logic contained in UP’s propaganda video had more holes in it than can be addressed in one article, but it did bring to the surface one truth; No railroader in their right mind could justify encouraging their kids/nephews/nieces/friends or neighbors to hire out on the rail. When we are fearful of our own jobs, we are 100% not going to be responsible for misleading loved ones into following us down a career path targeted for extinction.

In railroading, there is a common expression about how you can get the word out on any topic, it is “Telephone, Telefax, Tell-a-Railroader.” UP’s video premiered at an FRA hearing with roughly 30 people in attendance and maybe 100 viewers on Zoom, but a bombshell like that was inevitable to be talked about in every crew room and railroad hotel lobby from that day forward.

To all the Class I rail companies looking down the barrel of stagnant head counts, I would tell you this; Your employees used to be the only recruiting tool you needed and that advertising came free of charge. Now you not only do not have that resource to lean on, but you need to up your advertising budget as well as your “hiring incentives” to even come close to getting enough bodies into your training classes. Additionally, conductors are constantly learning the craft of how to be an engineer when they are in the locomotive. There is an added value for the carrier because it works out that they get the benefit of an apprenticeship program without having to put one in place. That will be gone in a scenario where the first time an employee is on the engine, he/she is expected to run it.

This column was written by Daniel Banks, a SMART-TD member for 11 years who is a member of Local 378 in Cleveland, Ohio. He has worked as a conductor and engineer for CSX and now serves members as a public relations representative out of the Independence, Ohio, headquarters.

In a letter dated Jan. 25, the general chairperson of SMART Transportation Division’s GO 577 informed Union Pacific’s senior vice president of operations that the union was withdrawing from any participation in the company’s safety program effective Feb. 1, 2023.

GC Roy Davis served UP’s brass notice, saying that he and the union would no longer be part of the hypocritical exercise of hiding behind the existence of the UP’s Safety Program. In his letter, GC Davis said the program is, “nothing but a ruse that enables the Carrier to avoid proper scrutiny by the Federal Railroad Administration by putting ‘lipstick on a pig.’ “

In the letter posted below, Davis states that carrier’s decision to run single-person remote crews on the Houston hub is what forced his hand.

SMART-TD is unwavering in our commitment to protect the safety of the essential brothers and sisters who delivered the carrier a year of record revenue and profits in 2022, and we stand with GO 577 in its decision to protest this unilateral decision on the part of the Union Pacific Railroad.

Mario Navarro, 49, a SMART-TD member out of Local 18 (El Paso, Texas), died late Aug. 29 after a pair of rail cars derailed in an accident in Union Pacific’s Alfalfa Rail Yard during a shoving movement.

Mario Navarro, left, is shown in this family photo provided on a GoFundMe page. Brother Navarro died in an at-work accident on Aug. 29, 2022.

An online fundraiser has been established to help his family through their time of unimaginable grief and loss.

Brother Navarro was an 11-year member of our union and worked as a conductor for UP.

“He was not just our co-worker, but our brother as well. I cannot describe how this hurts,” Local 18 Secretary & Treasurer Catarino Montero wrote on the online fundraiser page. “I would like for everyone to please pray for his family. They need it more than ever.”

Brother Navarro is the fourth TD member who has died while in service in 2022.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and investigators from the SMART-TD National Safety Team were dispatched to investigate the accident.

The SMART Transportation Division expresses its most sincere condolences to Brother Navarro’s family, friends and to his brothers and sisters of Local 18.

This article will be updated with service information as more information is provided to the union.

The federal Surface Transportation Board issued the following statement on Friday, May 6:

The Surface Transportation Board today announced that it will require certain railroads to submit service recovery plans as well as provide additional data and regular progress reports on rail service, operations, and employment.  These measures are meant to inform the Board’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.

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 the Board’s April 26 and 27, 2022 public hearing in Urgent Issues in Freight Rail Service. The Board has also continued to review and monitor weekly rail service performance data, which indicate trends in deteriorating service. The decision focuses on the adequacy of recovery efforts involving BNSF Railway Company (BNSF), CSX Transportation (CSX), Norfolk Southern Railway Company (NS), and Union Pacific Railroad Company (UP), and it requires more comprehensive and customer-centric reporting of all Class I railroads’ service metrics.

“Our freight rail service hearing highlighted the grave concerns of shippers and others regarding freight rail service,” said Chairman Martin J. Oberman. “While the railroads have faced certain challenges over the last few years, the evidence produced at last week’s hearing is overwhelming that the railroads’ longstanding practice of reducing operating ratios by cutting employment levels, mothballing locomotives, and eliminating other essential resources are the central reasons  why farmers have been hours away from depopulating herds, manufacturing facilities have reduced operating hours, and shippers cannot get their products to market on time or receive essential raw materials for their companies. These failures are harming the nation’s economy and, in my view, are contributing to the inflationary forces affecting food and fuel in particular.”

“Requiring additional reporting from railroads may not be the final result of our hearing on service issues. Today’s decision is an immediate step the Board can take to enable needed monitoring of the improved efforts the railroads have been promising for months, and to determine if additional regulatory steps are necessary to promote reliable service.”

Today’s decision requires all Class I carriers to submit several specific reports on rail service, performance, and employment.  In addition, BNSF, CSX, NS, and UP are required to submit service recovery plans, progress reports, historical data, and participate in bi-weekly conference calls with Board staff.

A recording of the Board’s April 26 and 27, 2022 hearing in Urgent Issues in Freight Rail Service, may be viewed on the Board’s YouTube page.  Today’s decision in Urgent Issues in Freight Rail Service—Railroad Reporting, Docket No. EP 770 (Sub-No. 1), may be viewed and downloaded here.