Railroad Regulation:

Competitive Access and Its Effects on Selected Railroads and Shippers

RCED-87-109: Published: Jun 18, 1987. Publicly Released: Jul 22, 1987.

Additional Materials:


Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800

In response to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Interstate Commerce Commission's (ICC) implementation of Staggers Rail Act provisions relating to joint rate and reciprocal switching cancellations, focusing on: (1) ICC criteria for the suspension or investigation of cancellations; (2) the effects of cancellations on selected railroads and shippers; and (3) the ability of railroads and shippers to use antitrust laws to protest cancellations.

GAO noted that: (1) under a reciprocal switching agreement, two railroads interchange cars originating or terminating on their track for an agreed-upon charge; and (2) joint rates simplify dealings between railroads and shippers, since one rate applies to goods that move over more than one railroad. GAO found that: (1) in considering cancellation suspensions, ICC requires a protester to show that it has a substantial likelihood of winning its case, it would suffer substantial injury without the suspension, and the act's refund provision would not protect it; (2) most railroads indicated that retaliation for another railroad's cancellations was an important reason for cancellations; (3) most protesting railroads lost revenue as a result of cancellations; (4) shippers indicated that cancellations resulted in higher costs and poorer rail services; and (5) regulations limit the availability of current antitrust laws to provide shippers and railroads with relief from cancellations.

Feb 28, 2018

Jan 30, 2018

Jan 16, 2018

Dec 21, 2017

Dec 14, 2017

Dec 4, 2017

Nov 30, 2017

Nov 15, 2017

Nov 2, 2017

Oct 31, 2017

Looking for more? Browse all our products here