Attorney Leonard M. Singer, Boston, MA  (617) 737-7670  (

Excerpt from:

49 CFR 1152.50. Exempt abandonments and discontinuances of service and trackage rights. 


(1) A proposed abandonment or discontinuance of service or trackage rights over a railroad line is exempt from the provisions of 49 U.S.C. 10903 if the criteria in this section are satisfied.

(2) Whenever the Board determines a proposed abandonment to be exempt from the requirements of 49 U.S.C. 10903, whether under this section or on the basis of the merits of an individual petition, the provisions of Sec. Sec. 1152.27, 1152.28, and 1152.29 as they relate to exemption proceedings shall be applicable.

(b) An abandonment or discontinuance of service or trackage rights is exempt if the carrier certifies that no local traffic has moved over the line for at least 2 years and any overhead traffic on the line can be rerouted over other lines and that no formal complaint filed by a user of rail service on the line (or a state or local government entity acting on behalf of such user) regarding cessation of service over the line either is pending with the Board or any U.S. District Court or has been decided in favor of the complainant within the 2-year period. The complaint must allege (if pending), or prove (if decided) that the carrier has imposed an illegal embargo or other unlawful impediment to service.

(c) The Board has found:

(1) That its prior review and approval of these abandonments and discontinuances is not necessary to carry out the rail transportation policy of 49 U.S.C. 10101; and

(2) That these transactions are of limited scope and continued regulation is unnecessary to protect shippers from abuse of market power. 49 U.S.C. 10502. A notice must be filed to use this class exemption. The procedures are set out in Sec. 1152.50(d). This class exemption does not relieve a carrier of its statutory obligation to protect the interests of employees. 49 U.S.C. 10502(g) and 10903(b)(2). This also does not preclude a carrier from seeking an exemption of a specific abandonment or discontinuance that does not fall within this class.