March 1, 2015

Utah bill to regulate rail crew vans draws fans, foes

SALT LAKE CITY – Legislation to give the Utah Department of Transportation oversight of companies entrusted with transporting railroad crews between jobs barely advanced to a third Senate reading with a 15-12 vote. At issue in SB127 is a loophole in the law that does not require the state to regulate safety inspections and driver [...]

Railroad Retirement explain survivor benefits

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Monthly benefits may be payable under the Railroad Retirement Act to the surviving widow(er), children, and certain other dependents of a railroad employee if the employee was “insured” under that act at the time of death. Lump-sum death benefits may also be payable to qualified survivors in some cases. The following questions and answers describe [...]

Want a raise? Join a union

Union membership still pays…at least in terms of higher wages. The typical union worker made $970 a week in 2014, compared to $763 for non-union workers, according to the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics data. That 27 percent spread has remained relatively constant at least since 2000, when the agency started tracking the data. Read [...]

Metrolink train hits truck, derails in Calif.

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A Metrolink train derailed early Tuesday, Feb. 24, in Oxnard, Calif., after slamming into a truck that was in flames. Twenty-eight people were injured, four critically. The driver of the truck fled the scene and was taken into custody, officials said. The train was going 79 mph near the crossing at 5th Street and Rice [...]

Oil trains are taking high-stakes risks with lives

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Five hundred and ninety one days have passed since a train carrying crude oil derailed and incinerated the town of Lac Megantic in Quebec. In that time, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has still not finalized new safety rules on tank car standards and operational controls for trains carrying highly flammable liquids. Read the [...]

FRA’s investigation into W. Va. derailment begins

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On Feb. 22 the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) announced that is now able to move forward with its full-scale forensic investigation into the derailment outside of Montgomery, W. Va., followed by a slower start earlier this week hampered by weather and safety concerns. During a media conference in Boomer, W. [...]

Fuel-hauling trains could derail at 10 per year

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The federal government predicts that trains hauling crude oil or ethanol will derail an average of 10 times a year over the next two decades, causing more than $4 billion in damage and possibly killing hundreds of people if an accident happens in a densely populated part of the U.S. The projection comes from a [...]

KCS announces Patrick J. Ottensmeyer as president

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Kansas City Southern announced Feb. 20 that as part of its succession planning process, Patrick J. Ottensmeyer has been appointed president, effective March 1, 2015. He will continue to report to David L. Starling, who remains chief executive officer. Ottensmeyer is currently the company’s executive vice president and chief marketing officer. In his new role, [...]

W. Va. oil-train fireball adding pressure for safety rule

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Video images of a fireball billowing from the wreckage of a derailed train hauling Bakken crude are adding to pressure on federal regulators to act on new safety standards for oil shipments. While there were no fatalities in the CSX Corp. accident in rural West Virginia on Feb. 16, the footage of flames and smoke [...]

America needs to invest in railroad tracks

Two major train derailments, one in West Virginia and one in Northern Ontario, have once again put oil transport by rail in the national spotlight in the United States. The derailment of the train hauling crude oil in West Virginia resulted in at least 14 cars bursting into flames. As a result, two towns near [...]