August 25, 2016

SMART TD to Washington state: DEIS will set “troubling precedent”

John Risch, National Legislative Director with SMART TD, submitted comments to Cowlitz County and the Washington State Department  of Ecology, in concern over the state’s possible efforts to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions from major construction projects, and the negative impact on rail that would follow.  “The release of the draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) for […]

FRA clarifies “Smartwatch” Rule – Fitbits restricted

The question? May an employee wear a device like a “Garmin Vivofit” or “Fitbit” wristband that acts like a watch, and counts the steps that an individual takes each day?  The devices are not searching for the internet, or Wifi, to do this and must be synchronized with Bluetooth on a separate device. The devices […]

Collective bargaining wins big in Verizon strike

The nydailynews.com reported that, after a seven-week Verizon strike, collective bargaining and the middle class came out on top. Read the entire story here.

Two days after Oregon derailment, 100 residents remain evacuated

Oregon Live reported that approximately 100 residents remain unable to go back to their homes in Mosier, Oregon, following an oil freight derailment on Friday.  Possible environmental concerns arose regarding the Columbia River, as a light oil sheen can be seen floating on the river’s surface.  Read the complete article here.

UP oil train derails and catches fire in Oregon

According to The Oregonian, a Union Pacific oil train traveling through the Columbia River Gorge derailed and caught fire Friday afternoon. Although no injuries were reported, local schools evacuated students and nearby state highways were shut down. The train originated from North Dakota and was carrying the volatile Bakken crude oil to Washington state. Eleven […]

NARP urges FRA, NJ Transit to expedite tunnel project

Progressive Railroading reported that the president of the National Association of Railroad Passengers (NARP) recently urged federal leaders to fast-track the requisite approvals for replacing the Hudson River rail tunnels. Read the entire story here.

Sleep apnea focus won’t solve fatigue issue – says SMART TD Assistant Legislative Director

Singling out sleep apnea doesn’t solve the critical problem of fatigue in the transportation industry, stated Joseph Ciemny, SMART TD assistant Illinois legislative director, at a joint comment session of the Federal Railroad Administration and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, held recently in Chicago. Read the complete article here.

Pennsylvania rail yard has long railroad history

  The CSX train yard located in New Castle, Pa., (aka Mahoningtown yard) has a long history with the railroad. The train yard was first used for the Pennsylvania Railroad, and then later the Baltimore & Ohio (B&O) Railroad and finally CSX. The Buffalo & Pittsburgh short line railroad also currently uses the yard. The […]

New FRA rules strengthen protections for MOW workers, expands drug & alcohol testing

Separate rules increase protections, add Maintenance of Way workers to drug and alcohol testing policy WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) announced it has issued two final rules to better protect railroad employees working on or near railroad tracks. One rule amends the existing Roadway Worker Protection regulation. The […]

SMART TD contests radio distractions to FRA

In a letter dated May 26, 2016, to the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), SMART TD National Legislative Director John Risch brought attention to the fact that some railroads are requiring needless radio broadcasts to the already-congested radio airways, which caused a derailment and loss of life in the case of the May 2015 Amtrak crash. […]