April 21, 2014

FRA collects minimal enforcement fines, docs show

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation collects relatively small civil penalties against the railroads it regulates, as concern grows over the safety of shipping large volumes of crude oil and ethanol in tank cars long known to be deficient, federal documents show. A McClatchy review of annual enforcement reports shows that the Federal Railroad [...]

FRA issues Final Rule to improve rail inspections

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WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) Jan. 24 announced new regulations governing rail inspections that will help identify rail flaws and further eliminate the risk of derailments. The new regulations require performance based inspections, a process designed to minimize rail defects that will generally result in an increase in tests [...]

Congress provides $15 million for railroad inspections

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The fatal derailment of a Metro-North train at the southern tip of the Bronx last month has spurred Capitol Hill lawmakers to boost the federal government’s “woefully underfunded” rail inspection program. The bipartisan spending deal reached Monday night by Republican and Democratic members of Congress allocated $15 million to allow the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) [...]

GAO issues report on rail safety

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Railroad accidents pose significant safety risks to railroads, their employees, passengers, and the public. FRA oversees safety of the nation’s railroads. In light of three high profile accidents in 2012 involving fatalities or hazardous materials, GAO was asked to review FRA’s oversight processes and the challenges to railroad safety. This report examines (1) the overall [...]

FRA issues safety advisory on speed restrictions

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WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) Dec. 11 issued an industry-wide Safety Advisory to help ensure railroads adhere to federal regulations regarding maximum authorized train speed limits. The advisory contains four recommendations to ensure railroads comply with speed restrictions through appropriate operating policies, procedures and effective implementation. “Safety is our [...]

FRA announces rule on passenger rail emergencies

The Federal Railroad Administration Nov. 29 announced a new final rule intended to further help with the evacuation of passengers and crewmembers in the event of a rail emergency. Among the provisions, the rule requires that vestibule and interior passageway doors on passenger cars be fitted with removable panels and windows to allow passage if [...]

DOT agencies evaluating railroads’ security plans

The Federal Railroad Administration and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration have issued a safety advisory to reinforce to railroads the importance of properly classifying Class 3 materials and ensuring the railroads’ safety and security plans address the vulnerabilities cited in FRA’s Aug. 7 Emergency Order No. 28. That order told the railroads to [...]

FRA’s Szabo addresses 50th meeting of RSAC

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The following are Federal Railroad Administrator Joseph Szabo’s opening remarks to those attending the 50th meeting of the Railroad Safety Advisory Committee (RSAC) in Washington on Oct. 31, 2013. Today marks the end of a stressful month. The government shutdown forced us to put a lot of important work on hold. And since it ended, we’ve [...]

Lauby named FRA administrator for safety

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Robert C. Lauby has been selected as associate administrator for railroad safety/chief safety officer for the Federal Railroad Administration. In that position, he will provide regulatory oversight for rail safety in the United States and oversees the development and enforcement of safety regulations and programs related to the rail industry. Lauby has 35 years of [...]

FRA, Maine DOT to test rail trespassing system

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) awarded a research grant for the city of Brunswick, Maine, the Northern New England Passenger Authority (NNEPRA) and the Maine Department of Transportation, among other partners, to participate in a field research program to develop and test new trespass detection and deterrent technologies. The research will consist of designing, operating [...]