April 1, 2015

Christopher Hart takes the helm at NTSB


WASHINGTON – Christopher A. Hart was sworn as the 13th chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board March 17 during a ceremony presided over by Chief Administrative Law Judge Alfonso Montano. President Barack Obama nominated Hart to serve as chairman in January 2015, and the U.S. Senate confirmed him on March 12, 2015. He has [...]

Comparison of benefits under RRB, Social Security


Employers and employees covered by the Railroad Retirement Act pay higher retirement taxes than those covered by the Social Security Act, so that railroad retirement benefits remain higher than Social Security benefits, especially for “career” employees who have 30 or more years of service. The following questions and answers show the differences in railroad retirement [...]

Member severely injured in switching accident


A SMART Transportation Division member working as a conductor for Canadian National Railway (Illinois Central) was crushed by a rail car in a switching accident March 15. William C. Moses, 42, a 10-year member of the Transportation Division, was seriously injured in the accident that occurred about 3:30 p.m. in Fulton, Kentucky. He is a [...]

UP again violates Federal Railroad Safety Act


More than 200 whistleblower complaints against railroad since 2001 NORTH PLATTE, Neb. – For the third time since 2011, the Union Pacific Railroad has violated the Federal Railroad Safety Act at its yard in North Platte by disciplining employees who reported workplace injuries and sought medical attention, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and [...]

Acting FRA chief has some in Congress impressed


After a string of deadly train crashes, a pair of angry U.S. senators stood in New York’s Grand Central Terminal four months ago to denounce the Federal Railroad Administration as a “lawless agency, a rogue agency,” too cozy with the railroads it regulates and more interested in “cutting corners” for them than protecting the public. [...]

Mo. State Legislative Board has new website


State Legislative Director Ken Menges reports that the Missouri Legislative Board has a new website at www.smartmoslb.org. Members can now stay up to date on issues affecting their jobs as well as issues affecting Missouri locals. Members can contact the board directly through the website, read their weblog and view an interactive calendar of events [...]

OSHA seeks nominations for Whistleblower committee


WASHINGTON – The Occupational Safety and Health Administration today announced that nominations are being accepted for members to serve on the Whistleblower Protection Advisory Committee. OSHA is accepting nominations for six members to serve on the 12-member committee for a two-year term. The six positions will become vacant Dec. 1, 2015. Nominations will be accepted [...]

Five ways energy is transforming U.S. railroads

railyard, train yard; trains

U.S. railroads have not hauled so much crude oil since the short period at the dawn of the petroleum age, when John D. Rockefeller relied on trains to build his Standard Oil empire. But the long, black tanker trains are only the most visible way that the changing U.S. energy picture is transforming railroads. The [...]

NTSB to hold forum on railroad trespassing


WASHINGTON – The National Transportation Safety Board will hold a public forum March 24-25 on the dangers of trespassing on the railroad right-of-way. While railroad tracks have long held a cultural resonance with Americans, featured in motion pictures, TV shows, music videos and photography, they are private property. And they can be a deadly place. [...]

Oil industry must join railroads to boost train safety


WASHINGTON – Rail operators are going to great lengths to prevent oil train derailments but the energy sector must do more to prevent accidents from becoming fiery disasters, the leading U.S. rail regulator said on Friday (March 13). Oil train tankers have jumped the tracks in a string of mishaps in recent months that resulted [...]