May 27, 2016

We need your comments on 2-person crews -Deadline extended to June 15

On March 15th, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) issued a long overdue proposed regulation requiring that most trains in America have a minimum of two crewmembers. While SMART TD supports the core requirements of the rule, we believe that it can be strengthened and improved before this proposed regulation becomes final. We also expect the […]

TSA Fairness Act passes House, Great Lakes closer to service

The TSA Fairness Act (H.R. 4549) passed in the House of Representatives April 13. The bill requires the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to provide security services at smaller airports that are serviced commercially. This Act is significant because the TSA currently has the right to refuse service to smaller active airports. A key example is […]

RRB announces change in service hours for field offices

Effective at noon on June 1, 2016, U.S. Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) field offices around the country will be closed to the public on Wednesday afternoons. Field office representatives will not be available to assist walk-in customers or to answer the phones during Wednesday afternoons only. All RRB offices will remain open from 9 a.m. […]

CP withdraws NS merger bid; SMART TD reacts

In a press release dated April 11, 2016, Canadian Pacific Railway (CP) announced that it has terminated its efforts to merge with Norfolk Southern (NS). CP has also withdrawn its resolution asking NS shareholders to vote in favor of good-faith negotiations between the two companies. “No further financial offers or overtures to meet with the […]

Class I’s announce 2016 first quarter financial results

CSX Corporation announced declining financial results for the first quarter 2016. Net earnings for the railroad decreased to $356 million or $0.37 per share, down from first quarter 2015 reported net earnings of $442 million or $0.45 per share. “As we managed through the impact of the continued coal decline and other market forces during […]

Amtrak, BNSF sue feed company after derailment

On Friday, April 8, Amtrak filed a lawsuit against Cimarron Crossing Feeders, LLC, claiming “gross negligence” as the alleged cause of a derailment last month that left 32 passengers injured. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) found in their investigation that one of the feed company’s trucks had struck the side of the railroad trucks, […]

TTD endorses better oversight of curbside bus operators

In a letter to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD), endorsed better oversight of curbside bus operators. In there letter, the TTD says “the passenger bus sector must be held to one standard of safety and curbside operators should not be allowed to operate unsafe vehicles, violate hours of […]

Q&A: buy-outs and Railroad Retirement Benefits

Railroad employees frequently ask the Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) how the acceptance of a buy-out from a railroad employer affects their future eligibility for benefits under the Railroad Retirement and Railroad Unemployment Insurance Acts. The following questions and answers provide information on this subject. 1. Would leaving railroad work and accepting a buy-out mean that […]

Risch: RSAC assigns working group to review industry speed signs

When is the best time to plant a tree? A good answer is 20 years ago, because if you had planted it then, you could be sitting under it now. The second best time to plant a tree is today. That kind of sums up the way our legislative department work goes. For several years […]

FRA orders Amtrak to retrain workers in wake of crash

The Associated Press reports that the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has ordered Amtrak to retrain employees on basic safety rules after an Amtrak train slammed into a backhoe last week, killing two maintenance-of-way (MOW) employees and injuring dozens of passengers. Loram Maintenance of Way spokesman Tom DeJoseph told reporters that the MOW workers on the […]