October 9, 2015

Caltrain pact protects UTU members in changeover


 In preparation for a new operator of Caltrain commuter service in Northern California, the UTU has moved to protect its members who choose to transfer from Amtrak to the new operator. Caltrain operates south from San Francisco to San Jose and Gilroy. TransitAmerica Services, Inc. (TASI), a subsidiary of Herzog Transit Services, will replace Amtrak [...]

FRA amends conductor certification rule


WASHINGTON – Responding to petitions for reconsideration to its Nov. 9, 2011, final rule on conductor certification, the FRA has delayed for six months the testing implementation dates and clarified other mandates affecting territorial qualifications and the definition of hostlers. The FRA, in a Feb. 8 Federal Register notice, said that because its final rule [...]

FRA proposes new minimum training standards

FRA logo

WASHINGTON – New minimum training and qualification standards are being proposed by the Federal Railroad Administration for rail workers in safety sensitive positions. In a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking published Feb. 7 in the Federal Register, the FRA said affected employees would have to be trained and qualified in federal rail safety laws, regulations and [...]

NMB vote-change rule survives in new FAA bill

NMB logo; National Mediation Board

WASHINGTON – The House and Senate agreed Feb. 6 on legislation authorizing increased future funding for new air traffic control technology and the Essential Air Service subsidy program to rural airports as part of a reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration. Lawmakers voted to scrap an attempt by House Republicans to overturn a 2011 National Mediation [...]

FRA seeks new passenger train safety rules


Improvements to existing passenger train emergency systems regulations have been proposed by the Federal Railroad Administration. The improvements are aimed at helping passengers and passenger-train crew members better locate and operate emergency exits during evacuations, and to assist first responders in reaching trapped passengers more quickly. U.S. passenger railroads, including Amtrak and commuter carriers already [...]

DOT ‘hero’ awards to 2 Amtrak conductors


Heroism has no timetable, no expectation, no formula. It is displayed instantaneously and accompanied only by rare courage. Enter, center stage, two UTU heroes – Amtrak conductors Richard d’Alessandro and Loxie Sanders – a couple of regular rails, represented by the UTU and seemingly little different than neighbors down the street. Their time of extreme [...]

FRA’s final HOS rules for passenger, commuter service

FRA logo

WASHINGTON – Passenger and commuter train conductors and engineers face new hours-of-service rules effective Oct. 15 under a final rule published Aug. 12 by the Federal Railroad Administration. The new rules differ in certain areas from hours-of-service regulations imposed on freight railroad employees. Among the differences is that passenger and commuter train hours-of-service regulations are more [...]

UTU to congressional audience: ‘HSR is jobs machine’

Risch, John; John Risch

Risch WASHINGTON — New jobs building and operating high-speed rail “are American jobs that can’t be shipped overseas and would be a Godsend in this economic downturn,” UTU Alternate National Legislative Director John Risch told a congressionally sponsored forum here Aug. 3. “Railroad operating jobs are not just good paying jobs; they are great careers,” [...]

Maglev’s future bleak after Pa. firm’s bankruptcy

The likelihood of 300-mph magnetic levitation trains operating in the United States anytime soon took another body blow in July when a private-sector firm planning a maglev route in Pennsylvania filed for bankruptcy. Maglev uses powerful electro-magnets to levitate, propel, guide and stop the trains. They are not wheeled trains and require a separate right-of-way. [...]

Amtrak GC Roger Lenfest, 65, dies

General Chairperson Roger Lenfest (Amtrak, GO 769), age 65, died July 10 following a short illness. Lenfest, of Sicklerville, N.J., succeeded Al Suozzo as general chairperson following Suozzo’s death in March 2010. Assistant General Chairperson Dirk Sampson becomes acting general chairperson for GO 769. Suozzo had held the post almost 18 years. A member of [...]