The U.S. Surface Transportation Board has paved the way for the owner of an historic railroad line from Oneida to Devonia in Scott, Campbell and remote Anderson County to pull up the tracks and close the line permanently.
In a 4-1 decision last week, the STB denied an appeal by an Arkansas railroad company to allow it to buy the nearly 42-mile line from Kentucky-based R.J. Corman Railroad using a process through the STB that would have forced the sale.
Last September, the STB – in a 2-1 vote – denied a request by Arkansas-Oklahoma Railroad Co. to buy the line and rehabilitate it for proposed new freight customers. The line has been dormant since 2013, when the last customer – a coal-mining operation in the Devonia area – shut down.
In January, Arkansas-Oklahoma Railroad attempted to reach an agreement with R.J. Corman to purchase the line outside the STB’s Offer of Financial Assistance program, through mediation that had been ordered by the STB.
The mediators said that despite two meetings with R.J. Corman Railroad and Arkansas-Oklahoma Railroad, on Jan. 21 and 22, “the parties ultimately were not able to reach a settlement,” and “the mediation has ended.”