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The Surface Transportation Board (STB) late last week approved Norfolk Southern Railway's acquisition of 283 miles of track in Pennsylvania and New York from the Delaware & Hudson Railway Co. Inc. (D&H). The deal was proposed in late 2014.The lines at issue in the case — known as D&H's South Lines — consist of 267 miles of the mainline between Sunbury/Kase, Pa., and Schenectady, N.Y., and about 15 miles of running track between Voorheesville Junction and Delanson, N.Y., STB officials said in a press release.The board found that NS's acquisition of the South Lines is not likely to cause "substantial lessening of competition or create a monopoly or restoration of trade," STB officials said in a press release. The board reached its conclusion even when considering D&H's plans to discontinue trackage rights that connect to the South Lines, which are subject of a separate proceeding.The STB concluded that any anticompetitive impact would be outweighed by the strong public benefits of the acquisition. Those benefits include allowing NS to provide more service for shippers and allowing the Class I and rail transportation in general to compete with trucking and barge transportation, the press release stated.The board's decision included the conditions that NS enter into two voluntary agreements with D&H to preserve certain shippers' access to two carriers. The full decision can be read via this link.
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