Idaho Public Utilities Commission

Case No. BNR-R-09-01, Order No. 30903

September 17, 2009

Contact: Gene Fadness (208) 334-0339, 890-2712



PUC to conduct telephonic hearing on northern Idaho rail abandonment


The BNSF Railway Company is asking the federal Surface Transportation Board for permission to abandon a 6-mile section of rail line in the Post Falls and Coeur d’Alene areas. The exact location is from Milepost 6.10 near Post Falls to Milepost 12.33 at Coeur d’Alene.


In order to receive a waiver from a much longer abandonment process, the railroad must certify that no rail traffic has moved on the line for the past two years and there are no outstanding complaints about the lack of rail service on the line. BNSF states there are no shippers remaining on the line and that there has been no traffic on it for many years.


The Idaho Public Utilities Commission is required to conduct a public hearing before the proposed abandonment is considered. The commission’s role is to determine if the abandonment 1) adversely affects the area being served, 2) impairs the access of Idaho shippers to vital goods and markets, and 3) whether the rail line has the potential for profitability. If the commission determines the proposed abandonment is not in the public interest, it files comments and represents the state before the Surface Transportation Board. If there are no objections, the commission will not file comments.


The commission will conduct a telephonic hearing from its headquarters in Boise on Tuesday, Sept 22, at 10 a.m. MDT. The railroad, any shipper, local government leaders and any other interested parties are welcome to participate either in person in the hearing room at 472 W. Washington St. in Boise or telephonically by dialing toll-free (866) 680-0146. The participant code is 295999.


Under the exemption procedure, the Surface Transportation Board will publish a notice in the Federal Register within 20 days after the petition for exemption is filed. Thirty days after the notice is published, the railroad is permitted to abandon the rail line unless the STB stays the abandonment.


A copy of BNSF Railway Company’s exemption petition to the Surface Transportation Board is available on the commission’s Web site at Click on the rail icon, then on “Open Rail Cases,” and select Case No. BNR-R-09-01.