The Surface Transportation Board (STB) adopted Reciprocal Switching for Inadequate Service Rule, implementing new regulations to allow shippers and receivers to petition for a reciprocal switching agreement, aimed at promoting adequate rail service. The final rule establishes eligibility criteria based on objective performance standards for reliability, consistency, and first-mile/last-mile service. The STB will also consider affirmative defenses and the practicability of such agreements. Class I railroads will be required to submit standardized service data and provide individualized, machine-readable service data upon request. The rule takes effect on Sept. 4, 2024.

The STB’s action follows a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking last September, focusing on providing rail customers access to reciprocal switching as a remedy for poor service. Under the final rule, customers in a terminal area with access to only one Class I rail carrier can petition for a reciprocal switching agreement if their service falls below specified levels. These agreements will allow shippers/receivers to access an additional line haul carrier while the incumbent carrier can still compete. Reciprocal switching orders will last for three to five years. The STB views this rule as incentivizing Class I railroads to maintain higher service levels by allowing competing carriers to offer better service.

Published Date

May 13, 2024


Advocacy, Cold Chain Development, Government & Regulatory Affairs


United States


Controlled Environment Building, GCCA Transportation, GCCA Warehouse, Global Cold Chain Foundation