This is a determination of the Railroad Retirement Board concerning the status
of Northwestern Pacific Railroad Company (NWPCO) as an employer under the
Railroad Retirement Act (45 U.S.C. § 231 et seq.)(RRA) and the Railroad
Unemployment Insurance Act (45 U.S.C. § 351 et seq.)(RUIA). The status of NWPCO
under the Acts has not previously been considered.
NWPCO is a privately held
corporation that was incorporated in the State of California on June 30, 2006.
Mr. John H. Williams, the chief Executive Officer for NWPCO, supplied
information regarding the formation and start of operations for NWPCO. A letter
dated August 24, 2011 represented that NWPCO began operations on July 13, 2011.
The first employees were compensated beginning July 13, 2011.
In Surface Transportation Board (STB) Finance Docket No. 35073, decided
August 16, 2007, NWPCO filed a
verified notice of exemption to change operators from Northwestern Pacific
Railway Co., LLC (NWPY, BA# 2793) to NWPCO on a line of rail owned by North
Coast Railroad Authority and Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit District. The line
is entirely within the state of California. The line is approximately 142 miles
and includes: (1) the Willits Segment extending between NWP milepost 142.5 near
Outlet Station to NWP milepost 68.22 near Healdsburg; (2) the Healdsburg Segment
extending from NWP milepost 68.2 near Healdsburg to NWP milepost 26.96 near
Novato; (3) the Novato Segment extending from milepost 26.96 near Novato to NWP
milepost 25.6 near Ignacio; and (4) the Lombard Segment extending from milepost
25.6 near Ignacio to Lombard Station in Napa County, SP milepost 63.4. NWPCO
will provide common freight rail service over the line and will interchange
exclusively with California Northern Railroad Co. (BA# 5734), a RailAmerica
According to documents provided, the exemptions filed with the STB became
effective on September 7, 2007, after the denial of a Stay request. NWPCO began
operations on July 13, 2011 and will handle freight with revenues that will not
result in NWPCO's becoming a Class I or Class II rail carrier. NWPCO estimates
that it will handle an annual volume that will not result in revenue exceeding
$5 million annually which projects out to 2,000 - 2,500 carloads annually. NWPCO
does not now intend to provide any rail passenger service.
Section 1(a)(1) of the Railroad Retirement Act (45 U.S.C. § 231(a)(1)),
insofar as relevant here, defines a covered employer as:
(i) any carrier by railroad subject to the jurisdiction of the Surface
Transportation Board under Part A of subtitle IV of title 49, United States
Section 1 of the RUIA (45 U.S.C. § 351) contains essentially the same
definition, as does section 3231 of the Railroad Retirement Tax Act (26 U.S.C.§
The evidence of record establishes that NWPCO is a rail carrier operating in
interstate commerce. Accordingly, it is determined that Northwestern Pacific
Railroad Company became an employer within the meaning of section 1(a)(1)(i) of
the Railroad Retirement Act and its corresponding provision of the Railroad
Unemployment Insurance Act effective July 13, 2011, the date on which NWPCO
Original signed by:
||FOR THE BOARD
Martha P. Rico
Secretary to the Board
Request for Stay of
proceedings by Mendocino Railway denied September 7, 2007.