49 U.S. Code § 24309 - Retaining and maintaining facilities

§ 24309.
Retaining and maintaining facilities
(a)Definitions.—In this section—
facility” means a rail line, right of way, fixed equipment, facility, or real property related to a rail line, right of way, fixed equipment, or facility, including a signal system, passenger station and repair tracks, a station building, a platform, and a related facility, including a water, fuel, steam, electric, and air line.
downgrading a facility means reducing a track classification as specified in the Federal Railroad Administration track safety standards or altering a facility so that the time required for rail passenger transportation to be provided over the route on which a facility is located may be increased.
(b)Approval Required for Downgrading or Disposal.—
A facility of a rail carrier or regional transportation authority that Amtrak used to provide rail passenger transportation on February 1, 1979, or on January 1, 1997, may be downgraded or disposed of only after approval by the Secretary of Transportation under this section.
(c)Notification and Analysis.—
A rail carrier intending to downgrade or dispose of a facility Amtrak currently is not using to provide transportation shall notify Amtrak of its intention. If, not later than 60 days after Amtrak receives the notice, Amtrak and the carrier do not agree to retain or maintain the facility or to convey an interest in the facility to Amtrak, the carrier may apply to the Secretary for approval to downgrade or dispose of the facility.
(2) After a rail carrier notifies Amtrak of its intention to downgrade or dispose of a facility, Amtrak shall survey population centers with rail passenger transportation facilities to assist in preparing a valid and timely analysis of the need for the facility and shall update the survey as appropriate. Amtrak also shall maintain a system for collecting information gathered in the survey. The system shall collect the information based on geographic regions and on whether the facility would be part of a short haul or long haul route. The survey should facilitate an analysis of—
ridership potential by ascertaining existing and changing travel patterns that would provide maximum efficient rail passenger transportation;
the quality of transportation of competitors or likely competitors;
the likelihood of Amtrak offering transportation at a competitive fare;
opportunities to target advertising and fares to potential classes of riders;
economic characteristics of rail passenger transportation related to the facility and the extent to which the characteristics are consistent with sound economic principles of short haul or long haul rail transportation; and
the feasibility of applying effective internal cost controls to the facility and route served by the facility to improve the ratio of passenger revenue to transportation expenses (excluding maintenance of tracks, structures, and equipment and depreciation).
(d)Approval of Application and Payment of Avoidable Costs.—
If Amtrak does not object to an application not later than 30 days after it is submitted, the Secretary shall approve the application promptly.
(2) If Amtrak objects to an application, the Secretary shall decide by not later than 180 days after the objection those costs the rail carrier may avoid if it does not have to retain or maintain a facility in the condition Amtrak requests. If Amtrak does not agree by not later than 60 days after the decision to pay the carrier these avoidable costs, the Secretary shall approve the application. When deciding whether to pay a carrier the avoidable costs of retaining or maintaining a facility, Amtrak shall consider—
the potential importance of restoring rail passenger transportation on the route on which the facility is located;
the market potential of the route;
the availability, adequacy, and energy efficiency of an alternate rail line or alternate mode of transportation to provide passenger transportation to or near the places that would be served by the route;
the extent to which major population centers would be served by the route;
the extent to which providing transportation over the route would encourage the expansion of an intercity rail passenger system in the United States; and
the possibility of increased ridership on a rail line that connects with the route.
(e)Compliance With Other Obligations.—
Downgrading or disposing of a facility under this section does not relieve a rail carrier from complying with its other common carrier or legal obligations related to the facility.
(Pub. L. 103–272, § 1(e), July 5, 1994, 108 Stat. 913; Pub. L. 105–134, title I, § 162, Dec. 2, 1997, 111 Stat. 2578.)

Historical and Revision Notes



Source (U.S. Code)

Source (Statutes at Large)


45:566(e)(1), (2).

Oct. 30, 1970, Pub. L. 91–518, 84 Stat. 1327, § 406; added Sept. 29, 1979, Pub. L. 96–73, § 121, 93 Stat. 548.










45:566(c)(2), (d)(1).



In subsection (a)(1), the words “rail line” are substituted for “railroad tracks” for consistency in the revised title and with other titles of the United States Code.

In subsection (b), the word “authority” is substituted for “agency” for consistency in the revised title and with other titles of the Code. The words “obtaining the” are omitted as surplus.

In subsection (c)(1), the words “first” and “to take such action” are omitted as surplus.

In subsection (c)(2), before clause (A), the words “need for the” are added for clarity. The words “necessary or” are omitted as surplus. The words “Within 90 days after September 29, 1979” and 45:566(d)(2)(A)(i) are omitted as executed. The word “maintain” is substituted for “take steps to prepare” for clarity. The words “survey plan which shall provide for” and “compilation, and storage” are omitted as surplus. In clause (F), the words “over time” are omitted as surplus.

In subsection (d)(2), before clause (A), the word “timely” is omitted as surplus. In clause (F), the words “rail line” are substituted for “lines of railroad” for consistency in the revised title and with other titles of the Code.

In subsection (e), the words “approval of” are omitted as surplus.


1997—Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 105–134 inserted “or on January 1, 1997,” after “1979,”.

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49 CFR - Transportation



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