Norfolk Southern will accept and transport Poisonous-Inhalation-Hazard (PIH) commodities in December after withdrawing a notice that PIH shipments would cease December 1 and passenger operations would not be allowed after December 31.
“Enactment of the Surface Transportation Extension Act of 2015, with its provision for extending the [Positive Train Control (PTC)] deadline, affords us the opportunity to continue to diligently pursue implementation of PTC on the required rail lines in compliance with the law,” the railroad said in a statement.
“Following this commendable step by Congress and the President, Norfolk Southern has rescinded its cessation of service notice for [PIH] commodities, and for passenger and commuter trains. The government’s action makes it possible for Norfolk Southern to conduct lawful operations beyond the former deadline of Dec. 31, 2015, maintaining full access to the rail network for customers and passengers.”
In an October 30 letter to customers, Alan H. Shaw, executive vice president and chief marketing officer wrote, “Due to the uncertainty associated with the potential extension of this unattainable deadline, the last few months have been difficult for Norfolk Southern and our customers. Despite our best efforts, compliance with the original December 31, 2015, deadline for implementing PTC was impossible, necessitating the need for Congress to extend the deadline…Norfolk Southern remains committed to installing a fully functional and interoperable PTC system on our rail network as quickly as reasonably and safely possible, and in compliance with the law. Please be assured that Norfolk Southern remains unyielding in our vision of being the safest, most customer-focused and successful transportation company in the world.”
For more on our Positive Train Control extension coverage, please see our past stories on Congressional passage of the extension, as well as President Obama signing the bill to make the extension official.