December 17, 2014

Court questions Amtrak’s role in setting standards

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WASHINGTON — The U.S. Supreme Court appeared divided Monday as it considered whether Amtrak, the government-owned passenger rail company, wields too much clout in setting regulations that private freight carriers also must follow. The nine justices heard arguments in a challenge by the Association of American Railroads to a federal law that gives Amtrak, a [...]

FRA issues advisory on roadway worker authority

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WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) Nov. 25 issued a safety advisory to the rail industry to better protect rail employees working on active tracks, or right-of-ways, under the supervision of a dispatcher. “Clear communication is critical to keeping employees out of harm’s way,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. [...]

FRA strengthens rail training requirements

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The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) Nov. 7 issued a final rule that strengthens training requirements for railroad employees and contractors who perform safety-related work. The rule, which was mandated by the Rail Safety Improvement Act (RSIA) of 2008, ensures safety-related employees are trained and qualified to comply with any relevant federal railroad safety laws, regulations, [...]

Szabo stepping down as head of FRA

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After nearly six years serving as chief of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Railroad Administration, Joe Szabo is stepping down in January. In a statement to FRA staff, Szabo said, “I will head home to accept a position as a senior fellow for the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning. In my new capacity, I’ll [...]

Metro-North, railroad regulators criticized on safety

Three senators and a top federal safety official delivered a blistering critique on Tuesday of the Metro-North Railroad and regulators in Washington for lapses in maintenance and oversight that led to five accidents that killed six people in less than a year. Led by Christopher A. Hart, the acting chairman of the National Transportation Safety [...]

FRA gives findings from Metra safety assessment

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WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) today announced the findings and recommendations from its focused safety assessment of Chicago’s Metra. The assessment finds Metra to be generally compliant with federal safety regulations, but also directs the commuter railroad to take immediate steps to enhance its safety culture, which is an [...]

FRA’s Szabo addresses SMART Convention delegates

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Federal Railroad Administrator Joseph C. Szabo spoke to attendees at the First Transportation Division Convention of the International Association of the Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers in San Diego, Calif., July 1, 2014. His speech, as prepared, is below. Good morning, everyone. It is great to be here with you today. I am [...]

Feds say oil train details not security sensitive

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BILLINGS, Mont. – U.S. transportation officials said Wednesday that details about volatile oil train shipments are not sensitive security information, after railroads have sought to keep the material from the public following a string of fiery accidents. The U.S. Department of Transportation has ordered railroads to give state officials specifics on oil-train routes and volumes [...]

Blumenthal calls Metro-North fines ‘a mockery’

WASHINGTON — The nation’s top railroad regulator drew withering criticism Tuesday for his agency’s record of safety enforcement against Metro-North Railroad. The Federal Railroad Administration’s use of its power to fine railroads for safety violations “is a mockery of justice,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal with some heat in an interview after tangling with FRA Administrator [...]

Lauby named FRA administrator for safety

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Robert C. Lauby has been selected as associate administrator for railroad safety/chief safety officer for the Federal Railroad Administration. In that position, he will provide regulatory oversight for rail safety in the United States and oversees the development and enforcement of safety regulations and programs related to the rail industry. Lauby has 35 years of [...]