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Murray Energy sues CSX for 'failure to provide reliable service'

Murray Energy Corp. is suing CSX Transportation Inc. for the railroad's alleged failure to provide reliable service to the coal producer and to recover resulting damages.

Two lawsuits were filed by Murray Energy and subsidiaries of its affiliate Foresight Energy LP against the railroad.

Murray had earlier expressed frustration with CSX, requesting relief from the U.S. Surface Transportation Board for service issues it was experiencing with the railroad.

Robert Murray, chairman, president and CEO, said the coal producer was forced to file these lawsuits and request intervention by the STB "in order to hold CSX accountable for their gross lack of service, flagrant disregard for our agreements, and their lack of effectively doing anything to correct their failures to provide contracted service mandated by the federal government."

He said that Murray Energy had met for years with CSX leadership at all levels and had "clearly explained" the impact of a lack of service on its operations, but that the situation has recently worsened.

Other coal producers including Arch Coal Inc. and CNX Coal Resources LP have also expressed frustration over delays and service issues from CSX.

"We are forced to take all possible action to see that CSX provides agreed-to service, and ceases breaking their own charter from the federal government. The CSX is jeopardizing Murray Energy's existence," Murray said.

According to the coal executive, it is time for the federal government to end CSX's monopoly on these rail lines. "Clearly, the current system of regional monopolies, including the monopoly of CSX, is destroying the business of shippers and is not working for the American people," he said.

CSX did not respond to a request for comment, but in a recent CSX Corp. earnings call, the railroad's President and CEO Hunter Harrison said it would not be investing any more money in building infrastructure for coal.