July 4, 2015

Will bill fix Amtrak problems that delay commuters?

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NJ Transit commuters could see benefits from a bill proposed by U.S. Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) to pump $6.6 billion over four years into Amtrak’s aging infrastructure, which could repair or replace some of the signals, overhead wire and track issues blamed for delays. The bill would add money to Amtrak’s budget [...]

Canadian Safe and Accountable Rail Act made law

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Ottawa, Ontario – To enhance railway safety and make the rail industry and crude oil shippers more accountable to Canadians, the Honorable Lisa Raitt, Minister of Transport, announced that the Safe and Accountable Rail Act has received Royal Assent. “I am so pleased to see these important amendments come into force. Raising standards for rail safety and accountability [...]

Senate confirms new TSA administrator

TSA Peter V. Neffenger

WASHINGTON –  The Senate voted on Monday, June 22, to confirm a new leader for the Transportation Security Administration in the wake of reports of startling security gaps at U.S. airports. Coast Guard Vice Adm. Peter Neffenger was confirmed as the agency’s new administrator by a vote of 81-1. Neffenger was nominated by President Barack [...]

Railroad Retirement spouse and widows’ annuities

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Railroad Retirement Act spouse and widow(er)s’ annuities (including divorced spouse, surviving divorced spouse and remarried widow(er)s’ annuities) are subject to reduction when social security benefits or dual railroad retirement annuities are also payable. Such railroad retirement benefits may also be reduced when a spouse or widow(er) is entitled to a public service pension unless certain [...]

OSHA finds BNSF violated whistleblower protections

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SEATTLE, Wash. – North America’s second-largest freight railroad, Burlington Northern Santa Fe LLC, must reinstate a train conductor and pay the man $536,063 in back pay, damages and attorney’s fees after a federal investigation found the rail operator retaliated against its employee after reporting a knee injury. BNSF filed disciplinary charges against the conductor after he [...]

BNSF charging lower rates for new crude-by-rail cars

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If you want to carry crude oil in an older railroad car, it’s going to cost you. Fort Worth-based BNSF Railway, the largest U.S. crude-by-rail carrier, is offering lower rates to lug oil in cars that meet the latest federal specifications issued in May. That means the vast majority of cars riding the rails today, [...]

Keep train safety system on deadline

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When a passenger boards a Metro-North train, there is every expectation to arrive at the destination safely. Yet Congress is considering easing a year-end deadline for railroads to install a technology — called Positive Train Control — that will prevent accidents like those due to speed on curves. Some of the nation’s railroads, including Metro-North, say they cannot [...]

SMART TD trainmen seal deal with Tacoma Rail

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SMART Transportation Division-represented trainmen (Local 556 of Tacoma, Wash.) employed by Tacoma Rail have ratified a new six and one-half (6.5) year agreement by an overwhelming majority. The agreement provides for true parity for all trainmen, with the elimination of entry rates and the consolidation of all rates into a single rate of pay for [...]

Operation Lifesaver awards $205,000 for rail safety

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WASHINGTON, DC – Operation Lifesaver, Inc.(OLI), in partnership with the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), announced that $205,000 in grants will be awarded to 13 state Operation Lifesaver programs for a variety of rail crossing safety and anti-trespassing public education projects. Most of the projects will incorporate public service announcements (PSAs) from the nonprofit safety group’s [...]

N.J. Senate prepares for crude oil rail disaster

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Trenton, N.J. – While admitting that their hands are largely tied, New Jersey lawmakers on Monday, June 15, took steps to better prepare the state in the event of a catastrophic oil train accident. “There is not a whole lot we can do to regulate rails going through our area because they are primarily regulated by [...]