The Surface Transportation Board announced it has adopted a final rule to amend its emergency service regulations to provide immediate relief for shippers in certain situations. The rule says the Board may act on its own to direct emergency rail service and establish an accelerated process for acute service emergencies. The Board has heard from a broad range of stakeholders about inconsistent and unreliable rail service and issued two orders mandating service in urgent situations. Stakeholder concerns have included railroad crew shortages and inability to move trains, tight car supplies and unfilled orders, delays in transportation for carload and bulk traffic, and ineffective customer assistance. “This approach to managing service emergencies is a long-needed reform that will help level the playing field for shippers where rail service failures have caused an acute threat to their business, or when emergency relief is necessary to protect the public, says Board Chair Martin Oberman.