March 28, 2015

Two-person rail crew bills introduced in Minnesota

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Two Minnesota lawmakers have introduced legislation in the state’s legislature that would require two persons on all Class I and II carrier freight trains operating in the state. State Rep. Frank Hornstein (DFL-Dist. 61A) and State Sen. Ann H. Rest (DFL-Dist. 45) introduced H.F. 1166 and S.F. 918 introduced last month in the Minnesota House [...]

Expert: Driver, trooper could have avoided train crash

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RALEIGH, N.C. – A truck with an oversized load and a state trooper escort was stuck in a railroad crossing with time enough to alert approaching trains, but there’s no indication Amtrak was warned before a crash that injured 55 people, officials said. An eyewitness told The Associated Press that the tractor-trailer — which stretched [...]

Amtrak has authority to set on-time performance

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The following release was issued by the Environmental Law & Policy Center: WASHINGTON – The U.S. Supreme Court’s March 9 decision affirming Amtrak’s power to create on-time performance standards could get slumping Midwest arrival times back on track. “This is a good Supreme Court decision that should help rail passengers across the country,” said Howard Learner, [...]

Amtrak train, truck collide in N.C.; several hurt

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HALIFAX, N.C. – An Amtrak train hit a tractor-trailer that stalled on railroad tracks in North Carolina, toppling the engine onto its side and injuring several people, officials said Monday. Halifax County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Bruce Temple said the accident happened around noon in the town of Halifax. Read the complete story at the Associated [...]

Ill. oil train derailment threatens Mississippi River

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An oil train derailment and spill in northwest Illinois poses an “imminent and substantial danger” of contaminating the Mississippi River, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said Saturday. The spill from the derailment, which occurred Thursday, also threatens the Galena River, a tributary of the Mississippi, and the Upper Mississippi National Wildlife and Fish Refuge, one [...]

OSHA announces final rule on handling retaliation

WASHINGTON – The Occupational Safety and Health Administration today published a final rule finalizing procedures for handling whistleblower retaliation complaints filed under Section 806 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002. The SOX Act protects employees who report fraudulent activities and violations of Securities Exchange Commission rules that can harm investors in publicly traded companies. “Silencing [...]

Train carrying crude oil derails in Illinois

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A freight train loaded with crude oil derailed in northern Illinois on Thursday, bursting into flames and prompting officials to suggest that everyone with 1 mile evacuate, authorities said. The BNSF Railway train derailed around 1:05 p.m. in a rural area where the Galena River meets the Mississippi, according to company spokesman Andy Williams. The [...]

NTSB seeking candidate for rail accident investigator

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The National Transportation Safety Board is seeking a qualified candidate to serve as a railroad accident investigator and would like to hear from interested SMART Transportation Division members with expertise in railroad operations, railroad accident investigations and railroad safety. This position is located in the Railroad Division, Office of Railroad, Pipeline, and Hazardous Materials Investigations [...]

Senators seek to extend PTC deadline to 2020′s end

U.S. Sens. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) and John Thune (R-S.D.) yesterday introduced a bill (S. 650) that proposes to extend the federally mandated deadline for positive train control (PTC) implementation by five years from 2015′s end to Dec. 31, 2020. The bill was referred to the Senate Committee on Commerce, [...]

TTD applauds passage of Amtrak reauthorization

Edward Wytkind, president of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO, issued the following statement about the U.S. House Representatives passage of the Passenger Rail Reform and Investment Act of 2015 (PRRIA): “Today the House of Representatives took an important step to sustain Amtrak, America’s national passenger railroad. The overwhelming vote today on the floor of the [...]