NITU extension granted by STB

By: 
Roxie Murphy

The Surface Transportation Board (STB) has approved an extension of Notice of Interim Trail Use (NITU) to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) and Missouri Central Railroad (MCRR), formerly known as the Rock Island Line, to allow property ownership negotiations to continue and the potential Rock Island Trail to be built. 

MDNR sent a request Dec. 4, 2017, to STB to extend the Feb. 21, 2018, notice of interim trail use deadline to Feb. 21, 2019. Negotiations have been going between MDNR and Ameren Missouri’s subsidiary since Dec. 23, 2016, to turn the abandon rail line into a recreational hiking and biking trail.

Missouri Rock Island Trail, Inc., Executive Director Greg Harris said the parties would not be able to take action prior to A&K Railroad Materials, Inc., completing salvage removal of tracks and railroad ties. 

In the STB’s release, it notes MDNR and MCRR have  previously informed the board that the parties intend to wait until the rail line salvage is finished before completing the interim trail use agreement negotiations.

The report also states that “it was originally thought that salvage would be completed at the end of 2017, but now it is clear that the salvage activities will continue beyond Feb. 21, 2018. Therefore, additional negotiating time is needed.”

A&K Materials began the salvage process on the 144.3–mile former Rock Island Line in late 2015. The project was expected to be completed by November 2017. Harris said the salvage of the line should be completed soon, according to his sources with A&K Materials. The STB granted the extension on Jan. 19.