April 20, 2014

FRA amends train emergency preparedness rules

The Federal Railroad Administration announced a Final Rule (FR) amending its existing Passenger Train Emergency Preparedness regulations.   The revisions make explicit that existing requirements for initial and periodic training, operational efficiency tests and inspections of certain railroad personnel apply not only to on-board crew members and control center personnel, but also to the railroad’s [...]

Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget would destroy Amtrak

CHICAGO (April 2, 2014)–Midwest High Speed Rail Association Executive Director Richard Harnish issued the following statement on Wednesday in response to Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) proposed budget, which would completely eliminate funding for Amtrak: “Buried deep in the pages of Congressman Paul Ryan’s proposed 2015 federal budget today is a murder. The victim of this [...]

Panel finalizes plans to alter Chicago’s transit system

A task force formed by Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn to examine transit service in the Chicago area has concluded that the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) should be abolished and Metra, the Chicago Transit Authority and Pace be consolidated under a single “integrated” board with three operating units, according to a report submitted to the governor [...]

Southwest Chief: Staying on track

Colorado’s Senate Transportation Committee will consider the bill to save the Amtrak Southwest Chief rail line at 2 p.m. Tuesday. The passenger rail route, which runs through. Southeastern Colorado, has been targeted by Amtrak for possible elimination in 2015 if funding for track improvements and maintenance are not found. House Bill 1161, sponsored by state [...]

FRA issues final rule on critical incident stress plans

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The Federal Railroad Administration issued a final rule requiring certain major railroads to develop critical incident stress plans that provide for appropriate support services to be offered to their employees who are affected by a “critical incident.” Critical incidents refer to events such as a highway-rail grade-crossing accidents or a train striking another employee or [...]

Train operator in Chicago crash had fallen asleep

CHICAGO – The operator of a Chicago commuter train that crashed at O’Hare International Airport acknowledged she dozed off before the accident and had also done so last month when she overshot a station platform, a federal investigator said Wednesday (March 26). Before the crash, the operator had been running trains on the nation’s second-largest [...]

FRA proposes rule for passenger side door safety

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The Federal Railroad Administration is proposing to improve the integrity of passenger train exterior side door safety systems and promote passenger train safety overall through new safety standards relating to the safe operation and use of passenger train exterior side doors. This proposed rule is based on recommended language developed by the Railroad Safety Advisory [...]

Emergency brake failed to stop Chicago train

CHICAGO – An emergency track-side braking system activated but failed to stop a Chicago commuter train from jumping the tracks and barreling to the top of an escalator at O’Hare International Airport, a federal investigator said Tuesday. The events that led to Monday’s accident, which occurred around 3 a.m. and injured more than 30 passengers, [...]

Obama announces second PEB in LIRR dispute

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WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama, March 20, signed an executive order creating a second Presidential Emergency Board to help resolve an ongoing dispute between the Long Island Rail Road and some of its unionized employees. The appointment of a second PEB means that a strike by members of the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, [...]

‘Miracle’ no deaths in Chicago airport train crash

CHICAGO – A Chicago train driven by an apparently sleepy operator, which jumped its tracks and screeched up an escalator at one of the world’s busiest airports, could have caused untold death and destruction had the crash occurred during the day when the station is usually packed with travelers, a transportation expert said. More than [...]