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U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Interpretation Response #21-0006

Below is the interpretation response detail and a list of regulations sections applicable to this response.

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date:

Company Name: Fletcher & Sippel LLC

Individual Name: Michael Barron

Location State: IL Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

Michael Barron
Fletcher & Sippel LLC
29 N Upper Wacker Dr. #800
Chicago, IL  60606

Reference No. 21-0006

Dear Mr. Barron:

This letter is in response to your January 26, 2021, email requesting clarification of the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180) applicable to the meaning of private track or private siding as defined in § 171.8. You describe a hypothetical scenario between a railroad (i.e., a rail carrier) and a private company, involving leased property and interchange tracks. In your scenario, the private company receives hazardous materials from the railroad by way of the interchange tracks, which are owned by the private company but on property (and inside a rail yard) owned by the railroad and leased to the private company. The interchange tracks connect the private company tracks and the railroad tracks. Further, you state that the lease is "on a non-exclusive basis"; however, you add that this is so that the railroad can deliver and pull cars on the interchange tracks. Therefore, in this arrangement, the railroad only uses the interchange tracks to exchange cars with the private company; and the hazardous materials are subsequently unloaded on the private company's own tracks by the private company.

You ask whether the interchange tracks meet the definition of a "private track" or "private siding."

The answer is yes only if the interchange tracks are used solely by the railroad and the private company for the purpose of moving cars shipped to or by the private company. The definition of "private track" or "private siding" includes a track that is leased by a railroad to a lessee, where the lease provides for, and actual practice entails, exclusive use of that trackage by the lessee and/or a general system railroad for purpose of moving only cars shipped to or by the lessee, and where the lessor otherwise exercises no control over or responsibility for the trackage or the cars on the trackage. Use of the interchange tracks by the railroad for the purpose of delivery and exchanging cars does not preclude the interchange tracks from the exclusive use criteria. However, if this interchange track has users other than these two entities, the interchange tracks would no longer be considered "private track" or "private siding" for purposes of the HMR.

I hope this information is helpful. Please contact us if we can be of further assistance.


Dirk Der Kinderen
Chief, Standards Development Branch
Standards and Rulemaking Division


Regulation Sections

Section Subject
171.8 Definitions and abbreviations