South Orient Railroad Company, Ltd.Abandonment and Discontinuance of Trackage RightsBetween San Angelo and Presidio, TX

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Surface Transportation Board
[STB Docket No. AB-545]

South Orient Railroad Company, Ltd.--Abandonment and 
Discontinuance of Trackage Rights--Between San Angelo and Presidio, TX

    On June 18, 1998, the South Orient Railroad Company, Ltd. (SORC), 
filed an application with the Surface Transportation Board (Board) for 
permission to abandon its San Angelo-Presidio Line extending from 
milepost 722 near Mertzon station south of San Angelo to approximately 
milepost 945.3 at Alpine Junction and from approximately milepost 956.7 
at Paisano Junction to the end of the line at milepost 1029.1 on the 
International Bridge near Presidio, a distance of approximately 296.4 
miles; 1 and to discontinue its trackage rights over the 
Union Pacific Railroad Company's line extending from approximately 
milepost 945.3 at Alpine Junction to approximately milepost 956.7 at 
Paisano Junction, a distance of 11.4 miles, for a total distance of 
approximately 307 miles in Brewster, Crane, Crockett, Irion, Pecos, 
Presidio, Reagan, Tom Green, and Upton Counties, TX. The line includes 
the stations of Mertzon, milepost 745.7; Barnhart, milepost 771.6; Big 
Lake, milepost 790.6; Rankin, milepost 819.9; McCamey, milepost 838.6; 
Baldridge, milepost 863.8; Sulphur Jct., milepost 869.4; Fort Stockton, 
milepost 881.7; Belding, milepost 892.9; Hovey, milepost 917.2; Alpine, 
milepost 944.3; Alpine Jct., milepost 945.6; Paisano Jct., milepost 
956.7; Paisano, milepost 956.9; Tinaja, milepost 969.3; Plata, milepost 
993.7; Casa Piedra, milepost 1002.9; and Presidio, milepost 1026.7, and 
traverses through United States Postal Service ZIP Codes 76903, 76666, 
76930, 76932, 79778, 76752, 79735, 79830, 79832, and 79845.

    \1\ The line also includes an additional 14.4 miles of side 

    The line does not contain federally granted rights-of-way. Any 
documentation in SORC's possession will be made available promptly to 
those requesting it. The applicant's entire case for abandonment and 
discontinuance was filed with the application.
    This line of railroad has been included in SORC's system narrative 
description in Category 1 since April 17, 1998.
    The interest of railroad employees will be protected by the 
conditions set forth in Oregon Short Line R. Co.--Abandonment--Goshen, 
360 I.C.C. 91 (1979).
    Any interested person may file with the Board written comments 
concerning the proposed abandonment and discontinuance or protests 
(including the protestant's entire opposition case), by August 3, 1998. 
All interested persons should be aware that following any abandonment 
of rail service and salvage of the line, the line may be suitable for 
other public use, including interim trail use. Any request for a public 
use condition under 49 U.S.C. 10905 (49 CFR 1152.28) or for a trail use 
condition under 16 U.S.C. 1247(d) (49 CFR 1152.29) must be filed by 
August 3, 1998. Each trail use request must be accompanied by a $150 
filing fee. See 49 CFR 1002.2(f)(27). The applicant's reply to any 
opposition statements and its response to trail use requests must be 
filed by August 17, 1998. See 49 CFR 1152.26(a).
    Persons opposing the proposed abandonment and discontinuance that 
wish to participate actively and fully in the process should file a 
protest. Persons who may oppose the abandonment and discontinuance but 
who do not wish to participate fully in the process by appearing at any 
oral hearings or by submitting verified statements of witnesses 
containing detailed evidence should file comments. Persons interested 
only in seeking public use or trail use conditions should also file 
    In addition, a commenting party or protestant may provide:
    (i) An offer of financial assistance (OFA) for continued rail 
service under 49 U.S.C. 10904 (due 120 days after the application is 
filed or 10 days after the application is granted by the Board, 
whichever occurs sooner);
    (ii) Recommended provisions for protection of the interests of 
    (iii) A request for a public use condition under 49 U.S.C. 10905; 
    (iv) A statement pertaining to prospective use of the right-of way 
for interim trail use and rail banking under 16 U.S.C. 1247(d) and 49 
CFR 1152.29.
    All filings in response to this notice must refer to STB Docket No. 
AB-545 and must be sent to: (1) Surface Transportation Board, Office of 
the Secretary, Case Control Unit, 1925 K Street, N.W., Washington, DC 
20423-0001; and (2) Christopher E. V. Quinn, Oppenheimer Wolff & 
Donnelly (Illinois), Two Prudential Plaza, 45th Floor, 180 North 
Stetson Avenue, Chicago, IL 60601-6710. The original and 10 copies of 
all comments or protests shall be filed with the Board with a 
certificate of service. Except as otherwise set forth in part 1152, 
every document filed with the Board must be served on all parties to 
the abandonment and discontinuance proceeding. 49 CFR 1104.12(a).
    The lines sought to be abandoned and discontinued will be available 
for subsidy or sale for continued rail use if the Board decides to 
permit the abandonment and discontinuance in accordance with applicable 
laws and regulations (49 U.S.C. 10904 and 49 CFR 1152.27). Each OFA 
must be accompanied by a $1,000 filing fee. See 49 CFR 1002.2(f)(25). 
No subsidy arrangement approved under 49 U.S.C. 10904 shall remain in 
effect for more than 1 year unless otherwise mutually agreed by the 
parties (49 U.S.C. 10904(f)(4)(B)). Applicant will promptly provide 
upon request to each interested party an estimate of the subsidy and 
minimum purchase price required to keep the line in operation. The 
carrier's representative to whom inquiries may be made concerning sale 
or subsidy terms is set forth above.
    Persons seeking further information concerning the abandonment and 
discontinuance procedures may contact the Board's Office of Public 
Services at (202) 565-1592 or refer to the full abandonment or 
discontinuance regulations at 49 CFR part 1152. Questions concerning 
environmental issues may be directed to the Board's Section of 
Environmental Analysis (SEA) at (202) 565-1545. [TDD for the hearing 
impaired is available at (202) 565-1695.]
    An environmental assessment (EA) (or environmental impact statement 
(EIS), if necessary), prepared by SEA will be served upon all parties 
of record and upon any agencies or other persons who commented during 
its preparation. Other interested persons may contact SEA to obtain a 
copy of the EA (or EIS). EAs in abandonment proceedings normally will 
be made available within 33 days of the filing of the application. The 
deadline for submission of comments on the EA will generally be within 
30 days of its service. The comments received will be addressed in the 
Board's decision. A supplemental EA or EIS may be issued where 
    Board decisions and notices are available on our website at 

    Decided: June 30, 1998.

    By the Board, David M. Konschnik, Director, Office of 
Vernon A. Williams,
[FR Doc. 98-17942 Filed 7-7-98; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4915-00-P  

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