October 31, 2014

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 [...]

Freight train drivers report falling asleep on the job

Train operators in Canada’s burgeoning freight rail industry report falling asleep at the controls and coming to work exhausted at an alarmingly high rate, according to an ongoing CBC News investigation into rail safety. “I have had instances where I have just snapped back into reality, and kind of, for a few seconds, not really [...]

Members at Terminal Railroad ASD approve contract

SMART Transportation Division-represented trainmen and yardmasters employed by the Terminal Railroad Alabama State Docks have ratified a new six-year agreement by an overwhelming majority. The new agreement provides for six, three percent annual general wage increases retroactive to April 1, 2012, with the final three percent general wage increase on April 1, 2017, resulting in [...]

Lake Terminal Railroad employees ink six-year deal

SMART Transportation Division-represented trainmen, engineers and yardmasters employed by Lake Terminal Railroad have ratified a new six-year agreement by a unanimous vote. The agreement provides for six annual wage increases, beginning July 1, 2013, and rolls in previous cost-of-living adjustment increases, resulting in an 18.7 percent cumulative wage increase over the life of the contract. [...]

Train derails in Mer Rouge, La., two injured

Update:  KNOE 8 News has learned that the two railroad employees injured in Sunday’s train derailment are now both being treated for their injuries in a Shreveport hospital. Mer Rouge Police Chief Mitch Stevens says the train engineer has a compound fracture to his leg and some bumps and bruises. The chief says the conductor [...]