March 28, 2015

Oil industry must join railroads to boost train safety

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WASHINGTON – Rail operators are going to great lengths to prevent oil train derailments but the energy sector must do more to prevent accidents from becoming fiery disasters, the leading U.S. rail regulator said on Friday (March 13). Oil train tankers have jumped the tracks in a string of mishaps in recent months that resulted [...]

FRA issues directive to replace tank car valves

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WASHINGTON – The Department of Transportation’s Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) March 13 issued a Railworthiness Directive requiring railroad tank car owners to replace unapproved valves currently installed in some tank cars. The valves in question are UNNR ball valves manufactured and sold by McKenzie Valve & Machining LLC (McKenzie). Recent FRA investigations revealed that the [...]

Oakland Old Rails Club planning April 12 dinner

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The Oakland Old Rails Club is planning its annual dinner and get together for Sunday, April 12, 2015, at the Elios Family Restaurant at 260 Floresta Blvd., San Leandro, Calif. The event will begin at noon with a no-host bar, with dinner to be served at 1:00 p.m. There are three dinner choices this year [...]

Former MTA chief expected to head Metrolink

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The Metrolink commuter rail system’s board of directors on Friday is expected to hire Art Leahy, the former head of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, as the railroad’s chief executive officer. Leahy, 66, is a veteran transit official who ran three transportation agencies after starting his career as a bus driver for the [...]

Washington House passes railroad crew van bill

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OLYMPIA, Wash. – The Washington House of Representatives voted 84-14 March 10 to pass Rep. Derek Stanford’s (D – Bothell) bill to strengthen safety regulations for the transportation of railroad workers to and from work. Prior to 1977, railroad companies operated van services to transport railroad employees between various work locations throughout the state. The [...]

Dangerous trains, aging rails

A CSX freight train ran off the rails last month in rural Mount Carbon, W.Va. One after another, exploding rail cars sent hellish fireballs hundreds of feet into the clear winter sky. Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin declared a state of emergency, and the fires burned for several days. The Feb. 16 accident was one of [...]

Great Lakes Airlines ending service to Sheridan, Wyo.

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SHERIDAN, Wyo. – Great Lakes Airlines cited “reasons beyond our control” in a letter announcing it would terminate air service at Sheridan County Airport on March 31. Airport Manager John Stopka received the notice of termination on Monday. Stopka said the termination of air service by Great Lakes Aviation, Ltd., which operates as Great Lakes Airlines, [...]

Amtrak renames Chicago operations center for Szabo

Amtrak on Tuesday renamed its operations center in Chicago to honor Joseph Szabo, a fifth-generation railroader who headed the Federal Railroad Administration for 51/2 years of the Obama administration. Szabo, 56, left the administration in December to return to Chicago, where he is a senior policy adviser on transportation at the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for [...]

Train-crew bill progressing in Washington state

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OLYMPIA, Wash. – Washington’s Republican-controlled Senate could set a national precedent with a bill passed Monday night (March 9) that would require up to two railroad workers in the rear of trains carrying crude oil and other hazardous cargo. Currently, BNSF Railway, the largest freight hauler in Washington, is not required to carry rear brakeman [...]

Two-person rail crew bills introduced in Minnesota

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Two Minnesota lawmakers have introduced legislation in the state’s legislature that would require two persons on all Class I and II carrier freight trains operating in the state. State Rep. Frank Hornstein (DFL-Dist. 61A) and State Sen. Ann H. Rest (DFL-Dist. 45) introduced H.F. 1166 and S.F. 918 introduced last month in the Minnesota House [...]