April 20, 2014

DOT’s Foxx urges safer rail tank cars

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx on Wednesday asked oil-by-rail leaders to create a tank car fit to carry the kinds of fuel involved in recent fiery derailments even as he dodged lawmaker questions about when such a plan would be ready. Rail shipments of oil have been on the rise in regions that [...]

FRA to issue proposed rule on minimum train crews

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WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Railroad Administration April 9 announced its intention to issue a proposed rule requiring two-person train crews on crude oil trains and establishing minimum crew size standards for most main line freight and passenger rail operations. The FRA also intends to advance a rulemaking on train securement and [...]

Start-time variability contributes to fatigue, accidents

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Start time variability in work schedules is often assumed to be a cause of railroad employee fatigue because unpredictable work-start times prevent employees from planning sleep and personal activities. A new report published by the Federal Railroad Administration examines work start time differences from three different databases previously published by the FRA. The studies conclude [...]

Report: Northeast Corridor is an economic engine

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A new report, “The Northeast Corridor and the American Economy,” produced by the Northeast Corridor Infrastructure and Operations Advisory Commission (NEC Commission) details how the Northeast Corridor (NEC), carrying 750,000 daily Amtrak and commuter/regional rail passengers, “is a critical national asset, an economic engine for the U.S., and contributes about $50 billion a year to [...]

No culture of safety at NJT, union official says

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Conductors assaulted on trains. Employee facilities that are filthy and infested with rodents. A culture where “an on-time train is better than a safe train.” An New Jersey Transit union official said Tuesday (April 8) there is no culture of safety at the statewide transportation agency. “We just go about our work every day and we’re not [...]

Railroads stress safety after deaths up in 2013

Railroads are launching a new campaign to highlight the dangers of being near train tracks after a spike in rail deaths last year. At this time last year, the railroads were proudly calling 2012 their safest year ever as derailments and crossing accidents kept declining. But last year, the number of trespassing deaths rose by [...]

Senate committee supports short-line tax credit

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) yesterday announced that an effort to extend the short-line tax credit for two years cleared a first big hurdle by passing out of the Senate Committee on Finance as a part of the Expiring Provisions Improvement Reform and Efficiency (EXPIRE) Act, which would reinstate a package of expired tax provisions. [...]

Southwest Chief could be rerouted from rural Colo.

From the towns of Lamar and La Junta on the Eastern Plains, south to Trinidad, the Southwest Chief has made stops since 1971 as it shuttles passengers between Chicago and Los Angeles. But soon the picturesque views of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains that passengers have enjoyed could be replaced by the flat plains of [...]

22 hurt after car smashes into SEPTA bus

TWENTY-TWO PEOPLE were hospitalized yesterday after a violent crash sent a SEPTA bus careening into a building in Chinatown, authorities said.  The collision happened just before 5 p.m. yesterday at the intersection of 11th and Vine streets, SEPTA spokesman Andrew Busch said. A Mazda sedan blew through a red light on Vine Street and slammed [...]

FRA amends train emergency preparedness rules

The Federal Railroad Administration announced a Final Rule (FR) amending its existing Passenger Train Emergency Preparedness regulations.   The revisions make explicit that existing requirements for initial and periodic training, operational efficiency tests and inspections of certain railroad personnel apply not only to on-board crew members and control center personnel, but also to the railroad’s [...]