In mid March STB declared a moratorium on rail merger proposals until it could adopt new rules. The industry is far more concentrated than it was when existing rules were written, it said, noting that further mergers could lead to a transcontinental rail duopoly.
STB said it intends to propose the elimination of the "one case at a time" rule so that "downstream effects" such as strategic responses from other railroads can be considered in future merger proceedings.
The agency said that "in view ofthe significant harms that have been caused by service disruptions that have been associated with recent mergers" it is seeking comments on how merger rules can be changed to protect customers and shortline railroads from service disruptions. More information is available at www.stb.dot.gov.