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Rail Consumer> Rail Customer and
Public Assistance


How To Seek Assistance

The Surface Transportation Board’s Rail Customer and Public Assistance Program solves problems in ways ranging from a simple answer to a telephone inquiry to lengthy informal mediation efforts. Topics including questions on rates and other charges, railroad-car supply and service issues, claims for damage, interchange issues, employee complaints and community concerns. The staff also explains the Board’s jurisdiction and procedures and informally answers questions based on the staff’s knowledge and experience.

Program staffers work to find some middle ground satisfactory to both the railroad and the shipper. Because it is an informal program, staff cannot order a specific resolution or provide official opinions or rulings. And if the process does not work for one of the parties, either party always has the right to bring a formal dispute before the Surface Transportation Board in which the program staff will not take part. Your identity will not be revealed to the railroad or other party without your consent.

The program began in 2000 and has grown dramatically since, as both shippers and railroads increasingly recognize the value of resolving disputes before they give rise to formal complaints and legal challenges. The program staff, including attorneys and former employees of shippers and railroads, bring to the table decades of experience in rail shipping, operations, marketing, analysis, tariffs and rates in seeking common ground and settle complaints, allowing both sides to walk away satisfied.

If you would like to submit a Rail Customer and Public Assistance Complaint at this time, please refer to our Rail Customer and Public Assistance page and submit the form.

Program staff can be contacted by calling (866) 254-1792; faxing to (202) 245-0461; or by email at rcpa@stb.dot.gov.

Organizations and members of the public can also add a link to the program’s Web site at www.stb.dot.gov/stb/rail/consumer_asst.html


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Rail Consumer Brochure (5.7 MB PDF) Sight-Impared Rail Consumer Brochure (.3 MB PDF)



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