January 27, 2015

FMCSA to maintain random drug testing rates in 2015


The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) reported that the annual minimum random controlled substances testing rates for employees in safety sensitive positions, including tractor-trailer and bus drivers, will remain at 50 percent through 2015.  The agency’s decision to maintain the current testing rate was based on data from motor carrier industry controlled substance lab [...]

Attention local treasurers, billings to be mailed Jan. 5

Due to the holidays, December billings will not be mailed until Jan. 5. 

FRA sets hearing for SEPTA waiver request

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has set a Feb. 10 public hearing on a dispute between the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) and its rail employees regarding a safety rule designed to limit fatigue on the job. SEPTA wants the FRA to renew the authority’s waiver of the rule for two years. But Brotherhood of [...]

Editorial: Do not reduce train crews to one


With profit seemingly driving all business decisions, it shouldn’t be a surprise that the country’s major railroad companies are continuing their quest to reduce freight trains crews … to one person. Not surprising, but scary. The railroad bosses are united in their desire for this change, citing technological advances. Labor groups, those living on rail [...]

LIRR leads Metro-North as nation’s busiest

The Long Island Rail Road is on pace to close out the year, once again, as the busiest commuter rail system in the United States — this time by a much wider margin over Metro-North than last year. Transportation experts attributed the LIRR’s widening lead over its sister MTA railroad to the recovering economy, LIRR’s [...]

The railroad industry outlook for 2015

The railroad industry is usually a good indicator of the underlying North American economy rising at a much faster pace over the last couple of years. In 2014, the key stories have been the rising crude-by-rail trend, stronger broad-based volume growth, rail consolidation, and network congestion problems. We believe these key themes will be pivotal [...]

Rails, unions to begin collective bargaining talks

Labor negotiations are set to begin between Union Pacific, BNSF Railway and unions that represent about 10,000 railroad workers in Nebraska and Iowa. Formal negotiations are scheduled for next month on a new collective bargaining agreement between the nation’s freight railroads and 13 unions representing about 143,000 workers. The most recent contracts were ratified in [...]

Canada rails add workers, engines to halt winter woes

Canada’s two biggest railroads aren’t letting winter go unchallenged. Canadian National Railway Co. (CNR) is strengthening its network, increasing employees and engines to keep trains running smoothly prevent another winter of icy and prevent another winter of profit-sapping gridlock. Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. (CP) is putting additional staff on standby, redeploying some equipment to “strategic” [...]

Palmetto GBA conducting Railroad Medicare survey


Palmetto GBA is conducting a Railroad Medicare Beneficiary Satisfaction Survey. The survey is designed to collect data on beneficiary satisfaction regarding its performance as Railroad Medicare’s contractor. The survey will be sent to a random sample of approximately 8,000 Railroad Medicare Beneficiaries. The surveys will be included in an upcoming Medicare Summary Notice (MSN). Palmetto GBA is listening and wants [...]

Class I workforce notched another gain in November

The U.S. Class I workforce continued to enlarge last month. As of mid-November, the large railroads employed 169,845 people, up 0.4 percent from October’s level and 4.1 percent from November 2013′s mark, according to Surface Transportation Board employment data. Only the transportation (other than train and engine) workforce sector registered a month-over-month decline, dipping 0.3 percent [...]