April 24, 2014

AFL-CIO’s TTD thanks Foxx for engaging labor

WASHINGTON – Edward Wytkind, president of the AFL-CIO’s Transportation Trades Department, issued this statement in support of U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx’s effort to highlight the importance of investing in America’s surface transportation needs, and applauded the Secretary’s effort to engage transportation labor: “In today’s economy, where there are too few jobs and too many potholes [...]

Rail workers’ health issues a growing safety concern

Visibility was 10 miles and the morning sun had pushed the temperature close to 90 as Danny Joe Hall guided his mile-long Union Pacific freight train east through the grasslands of the Oklahoma Panhandle. Near the farming town of Goodwell, federal investigators said, the 56-year-old engineer sped through a series of yellow and red signals warning [...]

DNA swab kits to help MTA bus drivers bust spitters

The MTA is about to get a little more CSI. City bus drivers will soon be armed with DNA swabs to gather evidence in the all-too-common event of an unhinged passenger spitting on them. Transit workers catch a loogie 14 times a month, the MTA estimated in 2011. Read more from the New York Post.

AAR issues safety alert: Razor blade on appliance

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The Association of American Railroads issued a a safety alert for all railroads in North America after the recent discovery of a razor blade wedged into a safety appliance handhold on a covered hopper car. The condition was discovered by a shop worker from the Anderson’s Inc. at the car repair shop located in Bay St. Louis, [...]

Previsch, TTD inform lawmakers about Amtrak

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A column by SMART Transportation Division President John Previsich and AFL-CIO Transportation Trades Department President Edward Wytkind informing lawmakers about the public’s support for Amtrak was published April 16 by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. In response to the column, Missouri State Legislative Director Ken Menges told Previsich and Transportation Division National Legislative Director James Stem, [...]

Ex-NJT rail chief lands job with N.Y. MTA

NJ Transit’s former railroad chief, who was pushed out in March following two tumultuous years that included the flooding of nearly 400 rail cars and locomotives during Superstorm Sandy, has landed a job within New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Kevin O’Connor, the former vice-president of rail at NJ Transit, started April 10 as Metro-North Railroad’s [...]

NJ Transit to conduct rail safety review

New Jersey Transit is planning to conduct a sweeping safety review of its rail operations. The agency has hired an outside consultant and is forming a 17-member committee that will be made up of employees at all levels to take a hard look at maintenance procedures, work practices, equipment and its “overall safety culture,” NJ [...]

FRA’s Szabo testifies on rail safety before STB

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Federal Railroad Administration chief Joseph Szabo testified April 10 before members of the Surface Transportation Board regarding the negative impact service degradation on the nation’s railroad network could have on rail safety and Amtrak on-time performance. His prepared oral testimony follows: Chairman Elliott and Vice Chairman Begeman, on behalf of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, thank [...]

FRA to issue proposed rule on minimum train crews

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WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Railroad Administration April 9 announced its intention to issue a proposed rule requiring two-person train crews on crude oil trains and establishing minimum crew size standards for most main line freight and passenger rail operations. The FRA also intends to advance a rulemaking on train securement and [...]

Start-time variability contributes to fatigue, accidents

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Start time variability in work schedules is often assumed to be a cause of railroad employee fatigue because unpredictable work-start times prevent employees from planning sleep and personal activities. A new report published by the Federal Railroad Administration examines work start time differences from three different databases previously published by the FRA. The studies conclude [...]