November 26, 2014

New oil train safety rules divide rail industry


Three days after an oil train derailed and exploded in 2013 in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, killing 47 people, Greg Saxton wandered through the disaster site inspecting tank cars. For Saxton, the damage was personal. Some of the tank cars were built by Greenbrier, an Oregon-based manufacturer where he’s chief engineer. Almost every car that derailed was [...]

Gov. Dayton to convene Minn. Rail Summit Nov. 17


Gov. Mark Dayton on Monday, Nov. 17 will convene a Rail Summit with railroad, agriculture, and industry leaders from across Minnesota. Elected officials, emergency managers, and key members of the Governor’s Cabinet will also participate in the discussion. Read the complete story at

Metro-North, railroad regulators criticized on safety

Three senators and a top federal safety official delivered a blistering critique on Tuesday of the Metro-North Railroad and regulators in Washington for lapses in maintenance and oversight that led to five accidents that killed six people in less than a year. Led by Christopher A. Hart, the acting chairman of the National Transportation Safety [...]

Unknotting rail congestion compels investment

railyard, train yard; trains

Unraveling the knot restricting rail network fluidity cannot be achieved through Surface Transportation Board (STB) intimidation of rail CEOs, or by the agency’s issuance of an emergency service order instructing one railroad to operate over the tracks of another, or by merging the nation’s seven major rail systems into a North American duopoly. None would [...]

FMCSA promotes safety belt use in kids’ contest


WASHINGTON – On Nov. 1, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) will kick-off the 2015 “Be Ready. Be Buckled.” student art contest organized by the Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Belt Partnership. Open to students in kindergarten through sixth grade with relatives or sponsors in the commercial truck and bus industries, [...]

Auxiliary Bluebonnets Lodge 331 to hold 5k run

bluebonnets railway

The Auxiliary of the UTU Bluebonnets Lodge 331 is holding a 5k run fundraiser. All ages are welcome to run in the race and medals and trophies will be awarded to the first place male and female in each age division and for the overall top male and female. Registration is open to all railway [...]

Ill. AFL-CIO approves two-person crew resolution


The Illinois AFL-CIO has unanimously approved a resolution supporting SMART Transportation Division’s call for federal legislation mandating at least two crew members on all freight trains. The endorsement came at the organization’s 41st annual Constitutional Convention in Rosemont, Ill. Citing issues ranging from chronic crew-member fatigue to inadequate crew training to accident prevention and response, [...]

BNSF ordered to pay $12K to disciplined worker

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – BNSF Railway Co. has been found in violation of the Federal Railroad Safety Act* by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration. OSHA’s investigation upheld allegations that the company disciplined an employee assigned to its station in Ottumwa, Iowa, for following a physician’s treatment plan. The company has been ordered [...]

RCP&E moving a record number of cars

An executive for the Rapid City, Pierre & Eastern Railroad said the start-up RCP&E is getting steadily better at moving grain this harvest – good news for farmers dealing with record wheat crops, good corn yields and some record sunflower yields. “There is a tremendous amount of grain that needs to move, and RCP&E is [...]

Canadian rails fight new rules to prevent crew fatigue


Canada’s major freight rail companies are fighting moves by the federal transportation regulator to curb “extreme fatigue” among railway engineers, a CBC News investigation has found. CN Rail, CP and the Railway Association of Canada went on the attack two weeks ago at a “tense and heated” meeting of industry, union and government representatives, according [...]