December 22, 2014

Ethanol safety seminars to be held through July

Two ethanol safety seminars are being held in Ohio this week hosted by The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) and Wheeling & Lake Erie Railway. The first safety seminar will be held Wednesday, April 24, at the American Red Cross in Akron, Ohio, and the second is to be held in Canton, Ohio, at the auditorium [...]

FRA: Intensive conductor training essential

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One of the strongest studies validating the need for two-person crews and intensive training for conductors has come from the Federal Railroad Administration. The conclusion is that the conductor and engineer function as a team, with managing multiple priorities essential to safe train operation – especially with regard to use of positive train control technology [...]

FRA to allow paperwork reduction

Three actions announced by the FRA this month are intended to eliminate out-of-date duplicative paperwork for smaller railroads, as well as for engineers seeking dual engineer and conductor certification.  Among the changes proposed: * Streamlining the process for certifying locomotive engineers by  allowing engineers to use a single medical certificate for both the conductor and engineer [...]

Senators seek review of rail safety

WASHINGTON – Three senior Democratic senators have asked the General Accountability Office – informally known as the congressional watchdog – to review the state of railroad safety and how the Federal Railroad Administration, state rail safety agencies and other stakeholders cooperate to ensure the safe transportation of rail freight and passengers. The review as requested by [...]

FRA, OSHA to coordinate safety complaints

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Following almost 1,000 complaints from rail workers that they were improperly disciplined for reporting injuries or unsafe working conditions, the Federal Railroad Administration and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration have forged an alliance to bring more pressure on railroads to stop the pattern of harassment and intimidation. “The safety of railroad employees depends on [...]

Passenger rail essential as population grows

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By Joe Szabo – Federal Railroad Administrator It seems like just yesterday, as UTU Illinois state legislative director and mayor of Riverdale, Ill., that I joined other mayors to successfully advocate for more frequent rail service from Chicago to downstate Illinois communities.  At the time, even that modest goal seemed daunting, as conventional wisdom said Americans [...]

Confidential Close Call Reporting proving its worth

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It’s confidential and no-fault. And the result, according to the Federal Railroad Administration, is a significant reduction in rail workplace derailments that too often lead to serious injury and death — plus, as a bonus, better labor/management relationships and improved operational performance. We’re talking about four pilot projects called Confidential Close Call Reporting System (C3RS), whose core value [...]

FRA beefs-up its PTC team

WASHINGTON – The FRA has has strengthened its positive train control (PTC) team, naming Mark Hartong as senior scientific technical adviser for railroad electronic systems within the FRA’s Office of Safety. Hartong’s primary responsibility, said the agency, “will be to ensure that electronic technology is applied in a manner that will support the safety and [...]

FRA mandates improved locomotive safety, comfort

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WASHINGTON – A final rule on improved locomotive cab safety and comfort has been published by the Federal Railroad Administration. The final rule, affecting all new and remanufactured locomotives in road and yard service, follows collaboration among the FRA, rail labor and carriers through the Railroad Safety Advisory Committee (RSAC) process and becomes effective June 8. Significant in [...]

FRA amends conductor certification rule

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WASHINGTON – Responding to petitions for reconsideration to its Nov. 9, 2011, final rule on conductor certification, the FRA has delayed for six months the testing implementation dates and clarified other mandates affecting territorial qualifications and the definition of hostlers. The FRA, in a Feb. 8 Federal Register notice, said that because its final rule [...]