November 27, 2014

How employees deal with death on the railroad

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Kim Davids has been a freight conductor for 39 years. Within those four decades, he’s witnessed 16 grade-crossing accidents, and every year around Christmastime he remembers one in particular. On a winter day in Utah 38 years ago, a woman in a car stuck on the tracks was clamoring out of a window to escape [...]

NS to buy part of northeast rail line from CP

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CALGARY – Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. is selling a stretch of track in the northeastern United States to a major U.S. railway in a $217-million deal. Norfolk Southern plans to acquire nearly 455 kilometres of rail line from Delaware & Hudson, a CP subsidiary, between Sunbury, Pa., and Schenectady, N.Y. Read the complete story at [...]

Two MTA railroads to acquire video cameras

Metro-North Railroad and Long Island Rail Road won approval from a committee of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) Board of Directors on Monday, Nov. 17, 2014 to award contracts totaling $34.6 million for the purchase of inward- and outward-facing cameras in the cabs of their rail fleets. A total of 2,064 rail cars and locomotives [...]

Amtrak asks STB to investigate, NS, CSX

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WASHINGTON – Amtrak is taking action to improve the on-time performance (OTP) of its trains that operate over tracks controlled by other railroads. In a complaint filed on Nov. 17, Amtrak is asking the Surface Transportation Board (STB) to investigate Norfolk Southern Railway and CSX Transportation for causing unacceptable delays for passengers traveling between Chicago [...]

Wis. SLD: There’s a better solution to train issue

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In a letter to the editor published Oct. 24 in the Fond du Lac Reporter, SMART Transportation Division’s Wisconsin State Legislative Director Craig Peachy wrote a response to an article that was published Sept. 13 entitled, “More trains lead to traffic delays at crossings.”  “A train blocked the 175 Highway crossing for more than five [...]

Indiana Rail Road backs single-person train crews

During each shift, Frank Rodriguez typically operates an Indiana Rail Road Co. (INRD) train by himself from Indianapolis to Switz City, Ind., and back. The locomotive engineer has covered the 180-mile round trip as a one-person crew for more than 10 years. Although there isn’t anyone to talk to during the trips, Rodriguez prefers to [...]

SOFA warns of winter-related safety issues

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The upcoming months are historically the most deadly time of year for railroad workers, with more career-ending injuries than any other period of the year. In February 1998, a Switching Operations Fatalities Analysis (SOFA) working group, with representatives from the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), labor and management, was formed at the request of the FRA [...]

SMART Constitution available online, officers elevated

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The official SMART Constitution, as amended by SMART delegates at the first SMART General Convention, is now available on both the SMART website at www.smart-union.org and the Transportation Division website at www.utu.org. In January 2014, the SMART Sheet Metal and Transportation Division officers completed constitutional modifications required by the terms and conditions of the merger [...]

Former Local 911 Chairperson Fred Croes Jr. dies

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Retired former Local 911 (Minneapolis) Chairperson Fred J. Croes Jr., 78, a mentor to many United Transportation Union and SMART Transportation Division officers in the Upper Midwest, died Nov. 12 of natural causes. Croes was born May 18, 1936, in St. Paul, Minn. At age 18, he joined the former UTU predecessor Brotherhood of Railroad [...]

N.D. considers rules to make oil by rail safer

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North Dakota’s energy regulators are considering new rules to make the state’s “Bakken” crude oil, which has been involved in a number of explosive train crashes, safer to move by rail. Proposed standards announced Thursday by the state Department of Mineral Resources follow a series of fiery rail accidents over the last 18 months that [...]