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FAQs

General: Administrative Inquiries

How late are you open (to make a filing)?
Answer. Our offices are open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

When filing with the STB, can you use a diskette or a CD?
Answer. Yes, you may use either 3.5" diskette or a CD as a data storage medium.

How do I report an error in the information displayed on the STB Web site?
Answer. An email may be sent directly to the STB Information Quality Officer or by choosing e-filing/Information Quality Requests.

What are the Commissioners' terms of office?
Answer. Biographies for STB Members may be found on the Board Members' page.

How do I check on the status of a White House nomination to serve at the STB?
Answer. Contact the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation at 202-224-5115, or search the Senate database at http://thomas.loc.gov/home/nomis.html

How can I resolve a household goods complaint?
Answer. The STB's Office of Compliance and Enforcement deals with questions concerning rates or estimates. Any other matters should be referred to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

6. Where do I check on liens, lease agreement, and equipment on rail cars?
Answer. Recordation information is available on this Web site.

7. What are the STB's filing fees?
Answer. The STB Fee Schedule is available on this Web site.

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General: Document/Copy Inquiries

How can I get copies/certified copies of STB decisions, filings, and other documents (e.g., Railroad Annual Report, Rail Road wage forms A&B)?
Answer. Copies and certified copies of STB decisions, filings, and other documents may be obtained by contacting the Records Officer. Please be sure to include the docket number in your request.

Where do you get a copy of a pleading, an STB transcript, or service list?
Answer. STB pleadings, transcripts, and service lists are available on this Web site. Certified copies of a pleading, transcript or service list may be obtained by calling the STB's main telephone number at 202-245-0245. Please be sure to include the docket number in your request.

Where can I get a copy of a consummation notice?
Answer. Consummation notices may be obtained by contacting the Records Officer. Please be sure to include the docket number in your request.

How do I obtain copies of STB Activity Reports?
Answer. Activity Reports (Annual Reports) are available on this Web site.

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General: Case-Related Inquiries

How do I have my name added to your e-mailing list for press releases?
Answer. You may be added to the STB's mailing list by accessing our automated system - Receive STB News/Mailing List.

Where can I see a copy of a decision that the STB issued?
Answer. All STB Decisions are available on this Web site. (Note: For decisions issued before November 1997, contact the Records Officer.

Can a shipper contest the charges which were paid for motor carrier service?
Answer. Shippers wishing to contest the charges which they paid for a household goods move or for other motor carrier service may ask the Board's Office of Compliance and Enforcement (OCE) to perform an "Applicability Review" of the charges which were assessed. This analysis consists of reviewing the complainant's moving or shipping documents and other paperwork, and requesting a copy of the carrier's tariff to determine the basis for the applied charges. OCE will advise the complainant, in writing, whether or not the carrier's charges were consistent with its tariff. If determined to be inconsistent, the complainant may then use the informal opinion as part of a court proceeding to recover the overcharges. Information regarding an "Applicability Review" may be obtained by calling 202-245-0285.

How can I get put on the service list in a particular docket?
Answer. To be added to the service list for a particular docket, contact the Management Information and Legal Support Services Branch at 202-245-0363 OR via email at milss@stb.dot.gov. Please be sure to include the docket number in your request.

There's a notice in the paper that our railroad is being abandoned, how can we make the rail bed into a trail?
Answer. Abandonment and Rails-to-Trails information is available on this Web site.

The county wants to make the rail bed on my property into a trail, do they have a right to do that?
Answer. Trails information may be found on this Web site.

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General: Labor Inquiries

What are my rights under labor protection?
Answer. The answer to this question varies by circumstance. Contact the Office of Congressional and Public Services at 202-245-0230 to speak to an attorney.

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General: ICC/Motor Carrier Questions

Is this the Interstate Commerce Commission?
Answer. No, the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) was abolished in 1995. Read more about the ICC on this Web site.

How do I get an interstate trucking license (file a motor carrier application) or file insurance for a motor carrier?
Answer. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration takes applications for motor carrier licensing and insurance.

information may be found on this Web site.

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Consumer Assistance

How do I file an informal complaint with the STB to address a rail consumer problem?
Answer. The STB has established a Rail Consumer Assistance Program which provides the general public with access to informal assistance with any type of rail-related transportation problem and is administered by the STB's Office of Compliance and Enforcement (OCE). The program is nationwide in scope, allowing anyone with a problem involving a railroad subject to the STB's jurisdiction to reach us by toll-free telephone (1-866-254-1792), by direct E-mail (railconsumer@stb.dot.gov), by using a "Rail Consumer" button on our Web page, or by fax (202-245-0462). All complaints and inquiries received by OCE through this program are handled directly with the involved railroad, usually within two hours of receipt, thus the program benefits every complainant by placing their concerns immediately before the involved railroad, which facilitates a prompt response to the complainant and provides the opportunity for a private sector resolution. Being informal, this process is less burdensome for either party than a formal proceeding, conserves the STB's resources, and provides the parties the opportunity to resolve their issues in an environment that will produce the most satisfactory, timely, and cost-effective result.

Are carriers required to file tariffs with the STB containing their rate and service information ?
Answer. Water carriers participating in the noncontiguous domestic trade, that is, movements between the U.S. and Puerto Rico, Guam, the Virgin Islands, Hawaii, and Alaska, and motor property carriers providing service jointly with those water carriers must file tariffs with the STB. The tariff regulations which have been adopted by the STB (see 49 C.F.R. 1312) define a tariff as an issuance which contains rates, rules, regulations, classifications or other provisions which have been published and filed with the STB in compliance with 49 U.S.C. 13702.

Rail carriers are required to file with the STB a summary of each rail transportation contract entered into for the movement of agricultural products (see 49 C.F.R. 1313). Interstate motor carriers and freight forwarders of household goods are required to publish tariffs which contain their rates and service terms (see 49 C.F.R. 1310).

The tariffs do not need to be filed with the STB, however, copies of tariffs must be provided to any interested person upon request. Rail and pipeline common carriers do not file rate information with the STB. These carriers are required to disclose to any person, upon request, requested rates as well as any related charges and service terms (see 49 C.F.R. 1300 and 1305). Information regarding tariff requirements may be obtained by calling 202-245-0285.

Can a shipper contest the charges which were paid for motor carrier service?
Answer. Shippers wishing to contest the charges which they paid for a household goods move or for other motor carrier service may ask the STB's Office of Compliance and Enforcement (OCE) to perform an "Applicability Review" of the charges which were assessed. This analysis consists of reviewing the complainant's moving or shipping documents and other paperwork, and requesting a copy of the carrier's tariff to determine the basis for the applied charges. OCE will advise the complainant, in writing, whether or not the carrier's charges were consistent with its tariff. If determined to be inconsistent, the complainant may then use the informal opinion as part of a court proceeding to recover the overcharges. Information regarding an "Applicability Review" may be obtained by calling 202-245-0285.

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Economic and Industry Information

1. Does the Surface Transportation Board (STB) require financial and statistical reports from all railroads in the United States?
Answer. The STB's power to collect railroad financial and statistical data is strictly limited by statute to information essential to the economic oversight of the industry. For purposes of accounting and reporting, carriers are grouped into three (3) classes. Class I carriers are required to maintain the USOA contained in the Code of Federal Regulations, Title 49, Part 1201 as well as file both annual and quarterly financial and statistical information with the STB. Class II and Class III carriers have no accounting or reporting obligations with the STB.

How are railroads classified?
Answer. Class I railroads are regulated by the STB and subject to the Uniform System of Accounts (49CFR1201). These carriers are also required to file annual and periodic financial and statistical reports. Railroads are classified based on their annual operating revenues. The Class to which a carrier belongs is determined by comparing its adjusted operating revenues for three consecutive years to the following scale:

The formula below is used to adjust a railroad's operating revenues to eliminate the effects of inflation:

Current Year's Revenues X ( 1991 Avg. Index / Current Year's Avg. Index)

The average index (deflator factor) is based on the annual average Railroad Freight Price Index for all commodities.

How are railroads reclassified?
Answer. The Code of Federal Regulations, Title 49, Uniform System of Accounts, Part 1201 Instruction 1-1(b)(1), states that upward and downward reclassification will be effected as of January 1st in the year immediately following the third consecutive year of revenue qualification. Since we have calendar reporting at the STB, a carrier is reclassified in the January following the date on which we determine that it has satisfied the higher classification revenue requirements for three consecutive years.

4. How does the public obtain copies of financial and statistical data submitted by the railroads to the STB?
Answer. As a matter of policy, we routinely share the annual and periodic data submitted by the railroads to the STB with other government agencies and the public. We have a conference room which we make available to the public where the data can be reviewed. Since this room is made available to the public by appointment only it is important that the public contact either Scott Decker at (202) 245-0330 or Paul Aguiar (202) 245-0323 to arrange for your visit. In order to have certain data copied and mailed to your address, please contact the Office of Congressional and Public Services at (202) 245-0230 for any fees involved in retrieving and copying the requested data.

Which railroads currently report financial and statistical information to the STB?
Answer. The STB limits its informational requirements to gathering essential information from carriers which make a significant impact on the transportation industry while eliminating the burden on smaller carriers. The seven (7) Class I railroads which account for the majority of the U.S. rail freight activity are as follows:

  1. The Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railway Company
  2. Kansas City Southern Railway Company
  3. Union Pacific Railroad
  4. Soo Line Railroad Company (Canadian Pacific's U.S. operations)
  5. CSX Transportation Inc.
  6. Norfolk Southern Combined Railroad Subsidiaries
  7. Grand Trunk Corporation (Canadian National's U.S. operations)

What financial and statistical documents are required of Class I railroads by the Surface Transportation Board and when are they due?

Principal Financial And Statistical Reports Required Of Railroads By The Surface Transportation Board
DOCUMENTDUE DATE
Form R-1March 31 Of The Following Year
Form R-1 Sch. 250April 30 Of The Following Year
Quarterly RE&I 30 Days After Close Of Quarter
Quarterly Cbs30 Days After Close Of Quarter
Annual QCS 60 Days After End Of Year
Quarterly QCS60 Days After End Of Quarter
Annual Wage Form A&B45 Days After End Of Year
Fuel Surcharge Report 30 Days After End Of Quarter
Quarterly Wage Form A&B30 Days After End Of Quarter
M-350 Monthly Report Of
Employees
15 Days After End Of Month
Note: Board generated compilations are generally available on the website within 3 business days of the submission date.

What financial and statistical reports are prepared by the STB?
Answer. Class I Line-Haul Railroads --Selected Earnings Data, compilation of railway operating revenues, net railway operating income, net income, and revenue ton-miles of freight of Class I railroads developed from quarterly RE&I and CBS forms. (Quarterly)

Report of Railroad Employment -- Class I Line-Haul Railroads (Statement M350), report of number of railroad employees. (Monthly)

Statistics of Class I Freight Railroads in the United States (formerly Transport Statistics), a compilation of Expense, investment, and operating statistics of U.S. Class I railroads developed from the Annual Report Form R-1s. (Annually)

Wage Statistics of Class I Railroads in the United States (Statement A300), compilation of number of employees, service hours, compensation, and mileage run developed from Wage Forms A & B. (Annually)

Is the quarterly and annual financial and statistical data required of Class 1 railroads subject to audit, review or validation by the STB?
Answer: The R-1 Annual Report is subject to review by Agreed Upon Procedures (AUP) as provided in Ex Parte No. 460. The AUP's are agreed to between the Board and the independent public accountants whom perform the work and issue a report, subject to review and approval of the Board. Quarterly information submitted by the Class1 railroads is not subject to any review by the Board. It is placed on the website with appropriate disclaimer.

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URCS and RCAF

What is URCS?
Answer. URCS is an acronym for Uniform Railroad Costing System. URCS is the STB's general purpose costing system that is used to estimate variable and total unit costs for Class I U.S. railroads.

What is the history of general purpose costing systems for railroads?
Answer. The Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) developed a railroad costing model in 1938 know as Rail Form A. Congress called for revision to RFA in the 1970's. URCS was developed in the late 1970's and early 1980's and review by the Railroad Accounting Standards Board (RAPB). URCS was adopted by the ICC in 1989 in Ex Parte No. 431 as the ICC's general purpose costing system and the ICC termination Act of 1995 retained the provision that the market dominance determination be base on URCS costs. 10707(d)(1)(B).

What are the three phases of URCS?
Answer. Phase I is the collection of data and Special Studies (Variability Study, Switching Study; etc). Phase II is the calculating system average variable unit costs based on system data and cost relationships developed in Phase I. (Class I railroads only. Regional costs are compilation of Class I data.) Phase II is updated annually. Phase III is the Movement Costing Program which is used to estimates the system average variable and total costs of a shipment.

What are the uses of URCS?
Answer. URCS is used for making cost determinations in abandonment proceeding; Providing the railroad industry and shipper with a standardized costing model; costing the STB Car Load Waybill Sample to develop industry information; providing interested parties with basic cost information; and for developing of variable costs in maximum rate reasonableness proceedings.

Does URCS develop costs for non-Class I railroads or Canadian railroads?
Answer. No. No. URCS only develops cost for U.S. Class I railroads. We do develop east and west regional costs, but those are base on and average of the Class I railroads that operate in each region. We also develop URCS cost for U.S. Class I railroads operated by Canadian companies. They are the Soo Line Railroad Company, which is operated by the Canadian Pacific Railroad Company and the Grand Trunk Corporation, which is operated by the Canadian National Railroad Company.

How do I obtain the URCS Phase III movement costing program and supporting files?
Answer. You may obtain a copy of the URCS Phase III movement costing program and supporting files using the following steps:
  1. Go to Industry Data at the top of this page.
  2. Go to Economics Data.
  3. Left click on URCS.
  4. Scroll down to the bottom of the page.

What is the RCAF?
Answer. The RCAF is the STB's Railroad Cost Recovery Factor. This is a forecast index of U.S. railroad expenses that is developed by the Association of American Railroads (AAR) and approved by the STB. It is published quarterly.

Where can I get historic information concerning the RCAF?
Answer. The STB decisions concerning the RCAF are available on our Web site. (Look for decisions in Ex Parte No. 290.) The AAR also keeps historic information on their Web site at www.aar.org.

What is the RCAF (U) the RCAF (A) and the RCAF-5?
Answer. The STB publishes three versions of the RCAF. They are the RCAF (Unadjusted), the RCAF (Adjusted), and the RCAF-5. The RCAF (Adjusted), reflects national average productivity changes as originally developed and applied by the ICC and is currently based on a 5-year moving average measure of productivity. The RCAF-5 reflects national average productivity changes as if a 5-year moving average measure of productivity had been applied consistently from the productivity adjustment's inception in 1989.

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Waybill

What is the Waybill Data Base?
Answer. The Carload Waybill Sample (Waybill Sample) is a stratified sample of carload waybills for terminated shipments by rail carriers. These railroads may file waybill sample information by using either: (1) authenticated copies of a sample of audited revenue waybills (the manual system); or (2) a computer generated sample containing specified information (the computerized system or MRI). The waybill submissions from these two methods are combined in a 900 byte Master Record File. From this master file a Public Use Waybill File is created.

How large is the Waybill Sample?
Answer. The Waybill Sample is a continuous sample that is released in yearly segments. For the past several years, the sample has contained information on approximately 600,000 movements.

Are all railroads included in the sample?
Answer. The sample includes waybill information from Class I, Class II, and some of the Class III railroads. The STB requires that these railroads submit waybill samples if, in any of the three preceding years, they terminated on their lines at least 4,500 revenue carloads. The Waybill Sample currently encompasses over 99% of all U.S. rail traffic.

What are the uses of Master Waybill File?
Answer. Data from the Waybill Sample are used as input to many STB projects, analyses, and studies. Federal agencies (Department of Transportation, U.S. Department of Agriculture, etc) use the Waybill Sample as part of their information base. The Waybill Sample is also used by States as a major source of information for developing state transportation plans. In addition, non-government groups seek access to waybill sample data for such uses as market surveys, development of verified statements in STB and State formal proceedings, forecast of rail equipment requirements, economic analysis and forecasts, academic research, etc.

Who can get access to information from the Master Waybill File?
Answer. Because the Master Waybill File contains sensitive shipping and revenue information, access to this information is restricted to: railroads; Federal agencies; the States; transportation practitioners, consultants and law firms with formal proceedings before the STB or State Boards; and certain other users. Rules governing access to Waybill Data are described in 49 CFR 1244.9.

Who can access the Public Use File?
Answer. Anyone can access the non-confidential data in the Public Use File by sending a written request to: OEEAA, Surface Transportation Board, 1925 K Street, N.W., Washington, D.C., 20423-0001. The content of waybill requests are described in 49 CFR 1244.9.

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Environmental Matters

How do I find information on projects currently before the STB?
Answer. The STB maintains an electronic public docket and information system on its Web site designed to allow access to documents in the STB's dockets.

When does the STB normally prepare an Environmental Impact Statement?
Answer. An environmental Impact Statement (EIS) will normally be prepared for most rail construction proposals with the exception of the construction of certain connecting track. [See 1105.6(a)]

When does the STB normally prepare an Environmental assessment?
Answer. Environmental Assessments (EA) will be prepared for the following proposed actions. [See 1105.6 (b)]

  1. Construction of certain connecting track;
  2. Abandonment of rail lines;
  3. Discontinuance of passenger train service and freight service (except for discontinuances under modified certificates and trackage rights where the affected line will continue to be operated);
  4. An acquisition, lease or operation which exceeds the thresholds specified in 1105.7(e) (4) or (5);
  5. A rulemaking, policy statement, or legislative proposal that has the potential for significant environmental impacts; and
  6. Water carrier licensing involving new operations or the transportation of hazardous materials.

4. Can actions before the STB be reclassified to require a different type of environmental review (e.g., an EA rather than an EIS)?
Answer. Yes. The STB may reclassify or modify the requirements for individual proceedings. In a rail Construction case, an applicant may request with written substantiation (and the STB may grant) that an EA rather than an EIS be prepared. For actions generally requiring an EA, the STB may prepare an EIS because of the probability of significant impacts. For actions that normally require no environmental documentation, the STB may decide that because of potential environmental impacts an environmental report is required and an EA or EIS warranted. [See 1105.6 (d)]

When must an applicant submit an environmental report?
Answer. An environmental report must be submitted with or prior to the filing of an action for which an EIS or EA is normally required. [See 1105.6 (a) and (b)] However, no environmental report will be required in those cases (e.g., rail constructions) where an independent third-party consultant working under the STB's supervision has been retained by the applicant to prepare the EIS or EA.

On whom must the applicant serve copies its environmental report?
Answer. The applicant must serve the following agencies listed under 1105.7 (b):

  1. the State Clearinghouse of each state involved ( In a notice of exempt abandonment, the appropriate State Clearinghouse must be notified 20 days prior to the notice's filing under 1105.7 (c);
  2. the State Environmental Protection Agency of each involved state;
  3. the State Coastal Zone Management if the activity will affect land or water use within that state's coastal zone;
  4. the head of each county including any Indian reservations through which the line goes;
  5. the appropriate regional offices of the Environmental Protection Agency;
  6. the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service;
  7. the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers;
  8. the National Park Service;
  9. the U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service; and
  10. any other agencies that have been consulted in preparing the report.
SEA has compiled a contact list of appropriate Federal and State agencies to assist you in this area.

What type and scope of information must be contained in environmental an report?
Answer. Environmental reports should include all of the information specified in 1105.7 (e). The environmental report should also include any required historic report. Examples of the type of information to be included in the environmental report are listed below:

  1. Proposed action and alternatives;
  2. Transportation system;
  3. Land use;
  4. Energy;
  5. Air;
  6. Noise;
  7. Safety;
  8. Biological resources;
  9. Water;
  10. Proposed mitigation; and
  11. Certain additional information for rail constructions.
The STB may waive or modify information requirements when the information is not necessary to evaluate the environmental impacts of the proposed action. [See 1105.7 (g)]. If some information requested does not apply in a particular case, the applicant should explain why in the environmental report.

What is the third-party contracting process?
Answer. SEA has used third-party contractors to aid in preparing environmental documentation necessary to comply with the requirements of NEPA and related environmental laws in STB proceedings. A list of all approved third-party contractors is available on the STB's Web site.

How do I get on the approved contractor list?
Answer. To be considered as a third party contractor, please submit a resume with supporting information describing your experience in preparing Environmental Assessments and Environmental Impact Statements, as well as knowledge of and experience in analyzing environmental issues, particularly those related to transportation projects. Send the resume to SEA, Surface Transportation Board, 1925 K Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20423-0001. If you have questions, you may contact Phillis Johnson-Ball at (202) 245-0304.

When must applicants submit historic reports?
Answer. The National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) requires the STB to consider the effects of certain of its actions on railroad owed historic properties. To assist the STB in complying with NHPA, each applicant must submit the historic report describe in 1105.8 (d) for the following type of action [unless exempted under 1105.8 (b); see Q. 12]:

  1. Actions identified in 1105.6 (a) [EIS normally required];
  2. Actions identified in 1105. 6 (b) [EA normally required]; and
  3. Certain actions identified in 1105.6 (c) that will result in the lease, transfer or sale of a railroad's line, sites, or structures.

How long does the historic review process generally take?
Answer. The STB working with the railroads, the State Historic Preservation Officers, and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, will do its utmost to ensure that the historic review process is completed in a timely manner. The amount of time, of course, will vary with the nature and scope of the particular case. Early consultation with the SHPO and a complete historic report will help to expedite the process.

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Legal Questions

(Notwithstanding the information provided here, any person involved with a challenge to an STB action should consider obtaining legal counsel.)

How and where are STB decisions challenged?
Answer. Under the "Hobbs Act," 28 U.S.C. 2321 et seq., a party may seek judicial review of a final STB decision in the United States courts of appeals. A party may file a petition for review in the judicial circuit in which it resides or has its principal office, or in the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. In practice, more parties choose to file petitions for review in the D.C. Circuit than in other circuits.

Are any STB cases heard in the district courts?
Answer. Yes, but not many. On occasion, a United States district court may refer to the STB questions or issues that arise in a pending court case that involve matters within the STB's regulatory expertise. In that situation, the district court may hear a challenge to the STB decision issued in response to the court's referral. The district courts also have jurisdiction to hear cases seeking to enforce a STB order, or to enjoin a STB order that is solely for the payment of money or collection of fines. See 28 U.S.C. 1336.

What is the relationship between your attorneys and the attorneys at the Department of Justice?
Answer. Under the Hobbs Act, when a STB order is challenged in the court of appeals, both the STB (represented by the STB's own attorneys) and the United States (represented by the Department of Justice) must be named as "respondents" (defendants) and both have authority to appear in court in such cases. See 28 U.S.C. 2322, 2323. The attorneys from the STB and the Justice Department usually jointly defend the STB's decision, although on rare occasions the United States and the STB may present their positions separately. In cases in the courts of appeals, the STB's attorneys usually prepare the written brief (in consultation with Justice Department attorneys) and present the oral argument for the federal government. In district court cases, the STB is usually represented by a United States Attorney located in the district in which the case is brought, but the STB usually drafts the pleadings in the case.

Do private parties also participate in defending STB decisions?
Answer. Yes, in most court cases challenging a STB decision, the party that was successful before the STB "intervenes" in the court case on the STB's side. As an intervenor it may file a written brief, and sometimes the intervenor's attorney may participate (in addition to the STB's counsel) in the oral argument before the court. Other interested parties may also seek to participate in the court case as an intervenor or "amicus" (friend of the court).

Do parties ever both challenge parts of a STB decision and support other parts of the same decision?
Answer. Yes, STB cases can address many issues and affect many interests, and parties may participate in a court case in different roles on different issues.

Do STB cases ever go to the Supreme Court?
Answer. Yes. Under 28 U.S.C. 1254, decisions of the United States courts of appeals, including decisions reviewing orders of the STB, may be challenged in the Supreme Court. Such a challenge must be made within 90 days of the issuance by the court of appeals of its decision. See 28 U.S.C. 2350. Such challenges may be filed by either the federal government or by other parties, depending upon how the court of appeals ruled in the case.

Who represents the federal government in cases before the Supreme Court?
Answer.Generally in cases before the Supreme Court the federal government is represented by the Solicitor General of the United States. STB attorneys will provide assistance to the Solicitor General's office in cases involving STB interests.

How long do I have to challenge a STB decision?
Answer. A petition for judicial review must be filed in a court of appeals within 60 days after the "service date" of a final STB decision. See 28 U.S.C. 2344. Where the STB has acted on a referral from a district court, a challenge must be filed with the referring court within 90 days of the service date. See 28 U.S.C. 1336. Intermediate STB decisions in a case (for example, a ruling on some but not all issues in the case, or a ruling on procedural matters such as discovery disputes) may not be challenged until the STB issues a final decision.

Can I ask the reviewing court to prevent a STB order from taking effect pending the court's review?
Answer. Yes, parties may seek a "stay" pending judicial review pursuant to Rule 18 of the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure.

If I ask the STB to reconsider its decision, can I wait until the agency rules on my request before going to court?
Answer. Yes. A party may file a petition for administrative reconsideration by the STB. See CFR 1115.3. If a party files such a request within 20 days after the service date of the decision, that party may not seek judicial review until the STB has acted on its request for administrative review. (That party will then have the normal 60-day period in which to challenge both the original decision and the STB's decision addressing the request for STB reconsideration.) Where, however, a request for further agency review is filed later than 20 days after the service date of the original decision, that request will not postpone the 60-day period for seeking judicial review of the original decision.

If I do not ask the STB to reconsider its decision, but another party does, may I wait until after the agency rules on its request before I challenge the original STB decision?
Answer. No. A final STB decision becomes non-final only as to those parties that have timely sought reconsideration. A party that has not sought agency reconsideration must file for judicial review within the 60-day period, or it will lose its right to go to court. However, where one party seeks judicial review while another seeks further agency review, the court will typically delay its review until the agency's review is completed.

What are my options if I did not seek either agency review or judicial review within the time allotted?
Answer. A party may ask the STB to reopen a case at any time (see 49 CFR 1115.4), but if the STB declines to reopen the case, judicial review is very limited. The court will not consider arguments that could have been made in a timely challenge of the STB's original decision.

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