October 31, 2014

Feds say oil train details not security sensitive

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BILLINGS, Mont. – U.S. transportation officials said Wednesday that details about volatile oil train shipments are not sensitive security information, after railroads have sought to keep the material from the public following a string of fiery accidents. The U.S. Department of Transportation has ordered railroads to give state officials specifics on oil-train routes and volumes [...]

Blumenthal calls Metro-North fines ‘a mockery’

WASHINGTON — The nation’s top railroad regulator drew withering criticism Tuesday for his agency’s record of safety enforcement against Metro-North Railroad. The Federal Railroad Administration’s use of its power to fine railroads for safety violations “is a mockery of justice,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal with some heat in an interview after tangling with FRA Administrator [...]

Amtrak, FRA, NS 
kick off $71M Indiana Gateway

Amtrak, the Federal Railroad Administration, Norfolk Southern, and the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) have embarked on constructing the $71.4 million Indiana Gateway project, which will upgrade the right-of-way between Porter, Ind., and the Illinois state line shared by Amtrak and NS trains. The Indiana Gateway project will improve seven locations on NS’s Chicago Line [...]

Grow America: Federal Railroad Administration

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The Federal Railroad Administration’s (FRA) mission is to ensure the safe, reliable, and efficient rail transportation of people and goods for a strong America, now and in the future. Unfortunately, the growth of our economy and population is outpacing our level of investment in the nation’s surface transportation infrastructure, creating a situation that, if left [...]

DOT takes emergency action for safe crude shipments

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WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation May 7 issued an emergency order requiring all railroads operating trains containing large amounts of Bakken crude oil to notify State Emergency Response Commissions (SERCs) about the operation of these trains through their states. Additionally, DOT’s Federal Railroad Administration and Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration issued a [...]

AAR: FCC policies delaying PTC

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WASHINGTON – In a new report updating the industry’s progress on installing positive train control, the nation’s freight railroads said that a year-long moratorium on installing 20,000 communication antennas imposed by the Federal Communications Commission, followed by a lengthy federal approval process mandated by the agency, has seriously delayed the implementation of nationwide interoperable PTC. [...]

Senators push for more railroad inspectors

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WASHINGTON – More than a dozen U.S. senators, including North Dakota Sens. Heidi Heitkamp and John Hoeven, are pushing to put more federal railroad inspectors in the field. Boosting inspector numbers – which haven’t grown in the Bakken region even as oil production and crude-by-rail traffic has boomed – has become a top priority for [...]

FRA to issue proposed rule on minimum train crews

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WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Railroad Administration April 9 announced its intention to issue a proposed rule requiring two-person train crews on crude oil trains and establishing minimum crew size standards for most main line freight and passenger rail operations. The FRA also intends to advance a rulemaking on train securement and [...]

Start-time variability contributes to fatigue, accidents

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Start time variability in work schedules is often assumed to be a cause of railroad employee fatigue because unpredictable work-start times prevent employees from planning sleep and personal activities. A new report published by the Federal Railroad Administration examines work start time differences from three different databases previously published by the FRA. The studies conclude [...]

FRA amends train emergency preparedness rules

The Federal Railroad Administration announced a Final Rule (FR) amending its existing Passenger Train Emergency Preparedness regulations.   The revisions make explicit that existing requirements for initial and periodic training, operational efficiency tests and inspections of certain railroad personnel apply not only to on-board crew members and control center personnel, but also to the railroad’s [...]