October 23, 2014

Disgruntled employee steals train

A jaunt on a stolen train Thursday ended in a crash and possible federal felony charges for the 22-year-old driver. Derek Skyler Brux was charged Friday with reckless endangering, felony destruction of property and felony destruction, obstruction or removal of railroad track or fixtures after allegedly stealing a train from North Antelope Rochelle mine and [...]

Barrows named for second term as RRB labor member

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President Barack Obama announced Oct. 8 his intent to nominate Walter A. Barrows to a second term as the labor member to the U.S. Railroad Retirement Board. His nomination must be confirmed by the U.S. Senate. Obama first nominated Barrows as the board’s labor member in 2011. His appointment was confirmed by the Senate on [...]

Member dies in Colorado switching accident

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A SMART Transportation Division member was killed on the job Wednesday (Oct. 9) afternoon in a railroad switching accident at a Colorado Springs, Colo., industrial complex. According to media reports, BNSF Railway conductor Dawn Trettenero, 42, was trapped between two rail cars. Firefighters told Television Station KKTV that they arrived within minutes of being notified [...]

Work rules, discipline policy keys to LACMTA deal

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SMART Transportation Division members represented by General Committee of Adjustment GO 875 have approved a new agreement with the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority that attains all of the goals sought by the committee’s negotiating team. The general committee represents bus and light and heavy rail operators throughout the county’s transportation system, as well [...]

Railroads sue California over new crude oil rules

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California’s two major railroad companies have filed suit in federal court challenging a state law requiring railroads to come up with an oil spill prevention and response plan. The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in the U.S. District Court in Sacramento, contends federal laws largely prohibit states from imposing safety rules on railroads such as the ones [...]

STB orders more extensive reporting from rails

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FARGO, N.D. – Grain elevator and agriculture groups are cautiously optimistic that a more extensive reporting system for railroads, ordered Oct. 8 by the U.S. Surface Transportation Board, will at least allow agricultural shippers to see whether they’re getting the same kind of service as oil, coal and other industries. The STB, which regulates railroads, [...]

Pa. school bus employees pick up three-year deal

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SMART Transportation Division members employed by First Student, Inc., in Southeastern Pennsylvania have ratified a new three-year contract, retroactive to June 2014. The contract covers SMART members of Local 172 at Darby, Pa., working in school bus operations until June 30, 2017. Of the 92 votes cast, 55 were in favor of the agreement. Members will receive [...]

BNSF ordered to pay $30k for retaliation

DENVER – Burlington Northern Santa Fe LLC retaliated against a Mandan, North Dakota, worker in December 2013 after he reported a work-related injury and submitted a physician’s treatment plan, according to an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration. OSHA has ordered Fort Worth, Texas-based BNSF to pay more than [...]

BNSF to invest $235M in Washington state

BNSF Railroad will invest $235 million in its system in Washington state this year, nearly double the amount invested in 2013. This suggests that the company is continuing to upgrade a system that supported $28.5 billion in state economic activity, according to a study released Monday. Read the complete story at Puget Sound Business Journal.

Rail groups push feds to drop Bakken oil rule

WASHINGTON — Two railroad industry trade groups have quietly asked the U.S. Department of Transportation to drop its requirement that rail carriers transporting large volumes of Bakken crude oil notify state emergency officials. The railroads have maintained that they already provide communities with adequate information about hazardous materials shipments and that public release of the [...]