March 1, 2015

Rail worker safety bills marked up in Wash. state

Members of the SMART Transportation Division’s Washington State Legislative Board have been quite busy in recent weeks. Working with the board members and state emergency management officials, state senators and representatives of the Washington State Legislature Jan. 29 introduced six bills that could have a direct impact on Transportation Division-represented railroad employees and the safety [...]

A message regarding cyber attack impacting Anthem

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As you may have heard, Anthem, Inc., the parent company of SMART’s voluntary short-term disability insurance provider Anthem Life Insurance Co., was the victim of a cyber-attack. Anthem has informed us that its member data was accessed, and that such access could possibly have included VSTD member data as well. We are working with Anthem [...]

Foxx unveils Obama’s infrastructure investment plan

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U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx Feb. 2 announced President Obama’s $94.7 billion Fiscal Year 2016 Budget for the U.S. Department of Transportation. The proposal makes critical investments in infrastructure needed to promote long-term economic growth, enhance safety and efficiency, and support jobs for the 21st century. Speaking at a town hall at Google headquarters in [...]

T&I Committee unveils passenger-rail reform bill

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House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) and other committee leaders yesterday introduced the Passenger Rail Reform and Investment Act of 2015 (PRRIA), which would address infrastructure needs, transparency and other issues for Amtrak. “By compelling Amtrak to operate more like a true business, cutting red tape, and opening the door to more [...]

Driver panic, confusion common in path of trains

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Your car is trapped between the crossing gates, and a train is speeding down the tracks, its horn blaring, its lights blazing in your direction. What do you do? Hit the gas pedal and crash through the gate, or ditch your car and start running, experts say. And don’t waste any time deliberating over it. [...]

Union Pacific promotes Lance Fritz to CEO

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Union Pacific’s board of directors today elected Lance M. Fritz president and chief executive officer, effective immediately. He also was elected to the company’s board of directors. Fritz had been president and chief operating officer since Feb. 6, 2014. Fritz, 52, succeeds John J. (Jack) Koraleski, who was named executive chairman. “Lance has the right [...]

Rail safety, campaign cash on collision course in Neb.

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At a time when rail safety is making national headlines, the dangers of train travel and campaign cash are on a collision course in Lincoln. Some state lawmakers are backing a plan to force the state’s two major railroads, Union Pacific and Burlington Northern Santa Fe, to run trains with no fewer than two crew [...]

Anthem says cyberattack stole data of millions

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Anthem, one of the nation’s largest health insurers, said Feb. 4 that the personal information of tens of millions of its customers and employees, including its chief executive, was the subject of a “very sophisticated external cyberattack.” The company, which is continuing its investigation into the exact scope of the attack, said hackers were able [...]

Transportation fatalities drop, but rail deaths rise

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WASHINGTON – Transportation fatalities in the United States decreased by 3 percent in 2013 from 2012, according to preliminary figures released today by the National Transportation Safety Board. Fatalities in all modes of transportation totaled 34,678 in 2013, compared with 35,796 in 2012. Deaths in marine, aviation, highway and pipeline transportation decreased, although there was [...]

Metro North train smashes into SUV, killing six

As the investigation into the deadliest accident in the history of the Metro-North Railroad got underway on Wednesday, officials said they still could not explain how or why a sport-utility vehicle became stranded on the train tracks. A crowded commuter train traveling north through Westchester County slammed into the S.U.V. on Tuesday (Feb. 3) night, [...]