July 31, 2014

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 [...]

FRA proposes new minimum training standards

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WASHINGTON – New minimum training and qualification standards are being proposed by the Federal Railroad Administration for rail workers in safety sensitive positions. In a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking published Feb. 7 in the Federal Register, the FRA said affected employees would have to be trained and qualified in federal rail safety laws, regulations and [...]

FRA safety advisory on shoving movements

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WASHINGTON – The Federal Railroad Administration, in response to inquiries about when it is permissible for an employee directing the movement to operate a motor vehicle in the context of a pushing or shoving movement, has issued the following advisory: The central concern in each situation is whether the practice violates the prohibition in the [...]

New deputy administrator at FRA

WASHINGTON – The Federal Railroad Administration’s chief legal counsel has been named deputy administrator – the agency’s number two position. Karen Hedlund succeeds Karen Rae, who departed to take a post in the administration of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Hedlund had been a Federal Highway Administration attorney prior to joining the FRA’s legal staff.

Deputy FRA administrator to depart Nov. 1

WASHINGTON – Deputy Federal Railroad Administrator Karen Rae is departing the agency Nov. 3 to rejoin the New York State government as deputy secretary of transportation in the office of New York Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Rae has been the number two to Administrator Joseph Szabo since March 2009. No successor, who will require Senate [...]

Rail safety concerns? Questions? FRA all ears

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CHICAGO — Here is an opportunity to voice your rail safety concerns directly to the administrator of the Federal Railroad Administration. A 90-minute town hall meeting on rail safety will be held Tuesday, Oct. 11, in Chicago. FRA Administrator Joseph Szabo will take questions and hear concerns as part of the agency’s outreach to rail [...]

1 grey sedan, 2 unknown occupants & a TSA mystery

Witnesses say it’s a grey sedan. A grey four-door sedan — occupied by two men. A grey four-door sedan occupied by two men that shows up at railroad facilities. The men claim to work for the Federal Railroad Administration. That say they are there to inspect a bridge, or to observe train and engine crews [...]