October 25, 2014

FRA gives findings from Metra safety assessment

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WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) today announced the findings and recommendations from its focused safety assessment of Chicago’s Metra. The assessment finds Metra to be generally compliant with federal safety regulations, but also directs the commuter railroad to take immediate steps to enhance its safety culture, which is an [...]

Rail groups push feds to drop Bakken oil rule

WASHINGTON — Two railroad industry trade groups have quietly asked the U.S. Department of Transportation to drop its requirement that rail carriers transporting large volumes of Bakken crude oil notify state emergency officials. The railroads have maintained that they already provide communities with adequate information about hazardous materials shipments and that public release of the [...]

End of line for railroad conductors? Not so fast

WASHINGTON — How many people does it take to safely operate a freight train? Two, say railroad labor unions, the Federal Railroad Administration and some members of Congress, arguing that having just one person in the cab of a locomotive was unsafe. They cite a series of deadly accidents involving trains with a solo engineer, [...]

Feds delay alcohol, drug regs for MOW workers

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Federal regulators are putting the brakes on new alcohol and drug regulations for railroad maintenance workers. The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) proposed new testing requirements for railroad track workers in July but said Wednesday (Sept. 24) it is extending the comment period at the request of industry groups. Read the complete story at The Hill.

FRA issues proposal on unintended train movement

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WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) today issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that will help protect communities from crude oil and hazardous materials incidents by strengthening requirements for securing unattended freight trains. The proposed rule codifies many of the requirements included in Emergency Order 28, which the [...]

FRA proposes testing for MOW employees

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In response to Congress’ mandate in the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (RSIA), the Federal Railroad Administration is proposing to expand the scope of its alcohol and drug regulations to cover employees who perform maintenance-of-way (MOW) activities. In addition, FRA is proposing certain substantive amendments that either respond to National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) [...]

FRA’s Szabo addresses SMART Convention delegates

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Federal Railroad Administrator Joseph C. Szabo spoke to attendees at the First Transportation Division Convention of the International Association of the Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers in San Diego, Calif., July 1, 2014. His speech, as prepared, is below. Good morning, everyone. It is great to be here with you today. I am [...]

FRA issues ROD for Calif. high-speed train section

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WASHINGTON – The U. S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) June 27 issued a Record of Decision (ROD) for the 114-mile Fresno to Bakersfield Section of the California High-Speed Train System. The ROD is the last step in the National Environmental Policy Act process and clears the way to break ground on the [...]

Supreme Court to hear Amtrak dispute

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The Supreme Court said June 23 it will consider whether Amtrak can partner with a government agency to create rules that other private railroads must follow. The justices agreed to hear the Obama administration’s appeal of a lower court ruling that said Congress unconstitutionally gave regulatory power to the passenger railroad company. Read the complete [...]

FRA’s Szabo challenges southeast states on rail

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RICHMOND, Va. – Federal Railroad Administrator Joseph C. Szabo today called on elected officials and transportation planners in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia to develop a shared vision of rail service along the Southeast High-Speed Rail Corridor (SEHSR) between Washington, D.C., and Atlanta. Administrator Szabo’s challenge came as he addressed members and supporters [...]