April 18, 2015

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 [...]

Foxx names Feinberg acting administrator of FRA

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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. [...]

FRA lists alcohol, drug testing rates for 2015

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According to data from Federal Railroad Administration’s Management Information System, the rail industry’s random drug testing positive rate has remained below 1.0 percent for the last two years. FRA’s administrator has therefore determined that the minimum annual random drug testing rate for the period Jan. 1, 2015 through Dec. 31, 2015, will remain at 25 [...]

FRA sets hearing for SEPTA waiver request

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has set a Feb. 10 public hearing on a dispute between the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) and its rail employees regarding a safety rule designed to limit fatigue on the job. SEPTA wants the FRA to renew the authority’s waiver of the rule for two years. But Brotherhood of [...]

Court questions Amtrak’s role in setting standards

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WASHINGTON — The U.S. Supreme Court appeared divided Monday as it considered whether Amtrak, the government-owned passenger rail company, wields too much clout in setting regulations that private freight carriers also must follow. The nine justices heard arguments in a challenge by the Association of American Railroads to a federal law that gives Amtrak, a [...]

FRA issues advisory on roadway worker authority

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WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) Nov. 25 issued a safety advisory to the rail industry to better protect rail employees working on active tracks, or right-of-ways, under the supervision of a dispatcher. “Clear communication is critical to keeping employees out of harm’s way,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. [...]

FRA strengthens rail training requirements

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The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) Nov. 7 issued a final rule that strengthens training requirements for railroad employees and contractors who perform safety-related work. The rule, which was mandated by the Rail Safety Improvement Act (RSIA) of 2008, ensures safety-related employees are trained and qualified to comply with any relevant federal railroad safety laws, regulations, [...]

Szabo stepping down as head of FRA

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After nearly six years serving as chief of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Railroad Administration, Joe Szabo is stepping down in January. In a statement to FRA staff, Szabo said, “I will head home to accept a position as a senior fellow for the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning. In my new capacity, I’ll [...]

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 [...]