May 1, 2016

FRA issues directive to replace tank car valves

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 […]

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 […]

FRA may require risk reduction programs

The Federal Railroad Administration is considering a rule that would require Class I freight railroads and railroads with poor safety performances to develop and implement formal risk reduction programs. A risk reduction program would involve employees working together to identify potential hazards and determine plans to reduce or eliminate associated risks, FRA said in a […]

FRA campaigns to enhance grade crossing safety

WASHINGTON – As part of its ongoing effort to improve safety at railroad grade crossings, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) Feb. 27 announced the first step in a new, multi-faceted campaign aimed at strengthening enforcement and safety awareness at grade crossings. The first phase of this effort calls upon local law enforcement agencies to show […]

Who’s to blame for the exploding oil trains?

A week after a CSX train hauling crude oil derailed and exploded 30 miles southeast of Charleston, W. Va., on Feb. 16, its mangled, charred tank cars were still being hauled from the crash site. Of the 27 cars that derailed, 19 had been engulfed in flames. The wreckage burned for almost three days. “It’s […]

FRA’s investigation into W. Va. derailment begins

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

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

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

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. […]