June 27, 2016

Rules on oil train safety not moving fast enough

A chorus of lawmakers expressed frustration Tuesday with the delays in approving and implementing various regulations related to the movement of hazardous materials by rail and pipeline. The acting chiefs of two U.S. Department of Transportation agencies heard Republicans and Democrats in the House Transportation Committee complain that rules on railroad tank cars and oil […]

AAR: Statistics confirm rail safety advancements

Latest safety statistics released by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) in April confirmed 2014 was the safest year on record for freight train operations in the United States, according to the Association of American Railroads. Highlights of FRA freight rail safety data (per million train miles): Since 2000, the train accident rate is down 45 […]

UP request to haul liquefied natural gas criticized

Union Pacific Railroad has applied for permission to haul liquefied natural gas, which would add another combustible cargo to a U.S. rail network already being criticized for transporting ethanol and crude oil through populated areas. The Omaha-based railroad said the application for a permit from the Federal Railroad Administration is in response to a request […]

Acting FRA chief has some in Congress impressed

After a string of deadly train crashes, a pair of angry U.S. senators stood in New York’s Grand Central Terminal four months ago to denounce the Federal Railroad Administration as a “lawless agency, a rogue agency,” too cozy with the railroads it regulates and more interested in “cutting corners” for them than protecting the public. […]

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. […]