Ohio Senator Sends Letters to Class I CEOs

Written by Jennifer McLawhorn, Managing Editor
Norfolk Southern
Norfolk Southern

Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown, drafted several letters to each of the Class I CEOs who have rail lines in Ohio following reports sent to his office of eroding rail bridges.

Ohio Lawmaker, Senator Sherrod Brown, drafted several letters to each of the Class I CEOs who have rail lines in Ohio. Following reports sent to his office of eroding rail bridges, Sen. Brown wrote Norfolk SouthernCSX, and Canadian National Railway urging them to send lists of bridges owned and operated by their rail lines and the conditions of said bridges. 

The letters, which start off the same way before being tailored to its recipients, open with a plea from Ohioans “who are concerned that old and dilapidated rail infrastructure poses a threat to local economies and to residents’ safety.” Sen. Brown writes of these three Class Is’ failure “to properly maintain and repair the bridges and other infrastructure you own in Ohio.”

The Senator requested detailed lists of rail bridges owned by Norfolk Southern, CSX, and Canadian National Railway as well as comprehensive assessments of each bridge. Sen. Brown wrote specifically that the “assessment should not be limited to an assertion that a bridge is ‘structurally sound’” and to even include cosmetic issues including graffiti. These requests also include a list of any bridges someone in the community or government employee has asked to be addressed as well as a detailed plan from each Class I that works to respond to and fix those concerns. 

In the letters to CSX’s President and CEO Joseph Hinrichs and Norfolk Southern’s Alan Shaw, Sen. Brown cites several examples of bridges in Ohio that need repair, including Elyria’s East Bridge Street and CSX’s rail bridge by Geneva. 

After the derailment in East Palestine earlier this year, lawmakers have worked to pass legislation on federal rail safety. These letters come before rail safety legislation could be voted on by the Senate. 

Placing the responsibility of the infrastructure on the companies’, Sen. Brown signs off each letter the same: “I expect your full report as soon as possible”. 

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