April 19, 2015

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. [...]

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 [...]

Committee holds hearing on freight rail challenges

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U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, today held his second hearing as chairman entitled, “Freight Rail Transportation: Enhancing Safety, Efficiency, and Commerce.” The hearing focused on challenges facing our nation’s freight rail network created by higher demand, pending and proposed rules and regulations, and infrastructure needs. [...]

FRA administrator declares emergency event

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Pursuant to Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) § 211.45, the Federal Railroad Administration’s (FRA) Acting Administrator, Sarah Feinberg, has determined that current and anticipated conditions of extreme cold, ice, and severe winter weather in northeastern portions of the United States constitute an “emergency event” as related to railroad operations. In making [...]

Foxx names Feinberg acting administrator of FRA

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced today that Department of Transportation Chief of Staff Sarah Feinberg will serve as Acting Administrator of the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA). She succeeds Joseph C. Szabo who was appointed and confirmed as the agency’s twelfth Administrator is 2009. Szabo stepped down as the agency’s head last Friday. [...]

FRA lists alcohol, drug testing rates for 2015

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According to data from Federal Railroad Administration’s Management Information System, the rail industry’s random drug testing positive rate has remained below 1.0 percent for the last two years. FRA’s administrator has therefore determined that the minimum annual random drug testing rate for the period Jan. 1, 2015 through Dec. 31, 2015, will remain at 25 [...]

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 [...]