March 1, 2015

Who’s to blame for the exploding oil trains?

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A week after a CSX train hauling crude oil derailed and exploded 30 miles southeast of Charleston, W. Va., on Feb. 16, its mangled, charred tank cars were still being hauled from the crash site. Of the 27 cars that derailed, 19 had been engulfed in flames. The wreckage burned for almost three days. “It’s [...]

Oil train wrecks increase pressure for tougher rules

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Fiery wrecks of trains hauling crude oil have intensified pressure on the Obama administration to approve tougher standards for railroads and tank cars despite industry complaints that it could cost billions and slow freight deliveries. On Feb. 5, the Transportation Department sent the White House draft rules that would require oil trains to use stronger [...]

Life-saving train design is rarely used

LOS ANGELES – Perhaps the most remarkable thing about the collision between a Southern California commuter train and a truck abandoned on the tracks was this: No one died and only eight people on board were admitted to hospitals. Officials with the Metrolink train system credit cars designed to blunt the tremendous force of a [...]

Regional meeting online registration now open

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Members planning to attend one or both of the SMART Transportation Division/UTUIA regional meetings this summer can now complete their registration online through the Transportation Division website at www.utu.org. The secure pages on the Transportation Division website provide for safe and convenient registration. There’s no need for filling out a paper registration form or finding a postage [...]

Long-term disability program forthcoming

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The trustees of the SMART Voluntary Short-Term Disability program are pleased to announce that they have reached a tentative agreement with Anthem Life Insurance Co. on a group long-term disability plan for our bus and rail members. The plan is intended to provide a seamless transition to long-term coverage for members when disability exceeds the [...]

Pa. SLD seeks support for two-person crew bill

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Transportation Division Pennsylvania State Legislative Director Paul Pokrowka had a meeting with Pennsylvania House of Representatives Transportation Committee Chairperson John Taylor (R-Dist. 177) Feb. 25 seeking his support of a two-person rail crew law in the state. Taylor pledged his support and said he would draft the two-person crew bill. Pokrowka asks that SMART members [...]

Southwest Chief rail bill passes first committee

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DENVER – A bipartisan bill designed to help grow economic opportunity and expand transportation options in southern Colorado cleared its first hurdle Feb. 24, passing the Senate Local Government Committee by a vote of 5-2. The bill, S.B. 15-176, would continue to provide needed transportation options so vital to southeastern Colorado in places like Lamar, [...]

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 [...]

Safety Team member assisting NTSB in Calif.

The SMART Transportation Division’s National Safety Team has assigned one of its members to assist the National Transportation Safety Board in its investigation of the crash and derailment of a Metrolink commuter train in Ventura County in California Feb. 24. Twenty-eight people were injured, four of them critically, when the five-car Metrolink commuter train traveling [...]

Previsich: ‘We achieved great things in 2014′

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By John Previsich, SMART Transportation Division President –  On behalf of the officers and staff of the SMART Transportation Division, I will take this opportunity to thank our members and their families for all of their efforts in 2014 and to extend our best wishes for a safe and prosperous 2015. I am grateful for the [...]