July 25, 2014

RSAC holds emergency meeting

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WASHINGTON – The Federal Railroad Administration’s (FRA) Railroad Safety Advisory Committee (RSAC) met today in an emergency session to begin consideration of additional regulatory or other safety measures following the derailment in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, Canada earlier this summer. “Safety is our top priority,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “While 2012 was the safest year [...]

Federal panel hears concerns on railroad safety

WASHINGTON – A federal panel heard comments Wednesday on the adequacy of safety regulations for railroads, during the first of two meetings that will focus on last month’s deadly train derailment in Lac-Megantic, Quebec. Fatigue is the top safety concern among train crew members, said a representative of one of the major unions for railroad [...]

FRA issues guidance memorandum on EO 28

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The Federal Railroad Administration has issued a guidance memorandum for Emergency Order 28, which seeks to prevent trains operating on mainline tracks or sidings from moving unintentionally. The memorandum has been sent to all Railroad Safety Advisory Committee (RSAC) members and alternates. Hardcopies will be provided at the emergency RSAC meeting scheduled for Aug. 29 and a detailed [...]

Agencies set public meeting on rail hazmat

The Federal Railroad Administration and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) will host a public meeting Aug. 27-28 in Washington, D.C., about the transportation of hazardous materials by rail. The two DOT agencies want to hear from stakeholders because they have begun a review of operational factors that affect the safe transportation of [...]

N.D. oil boom seen adding costs for rail safety

Crude oil shipped by railroad from North Dakota is drawing fresh scrutiny from regulators concerned that the cargo is adding environmental and safety hazards, something that analysts say could raise costs. The U.S. Federal Railroad Administration is investigating whether chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing are corroding rail tank cars and increasing risks. Separately, three pipeline [...]

Emergency RSAC meeting announced

The Federal Railroad Administration announced Aug. 8 that it would hold an emergency meeting of the Railroad Safety Advisory Committee (RSAC) Aug. 29. The meeting will focus on the July 6 train derailment in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec. Preliminary findings from the derailment and safety procedures that may not have been followed will be discussed. RSAC was [...]

Szabo: ‘Rail is the transportation mode of opportunity’

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On July 30, Federal Railroad Administrator Joe Szabo addressed attendees of the SMART Transportation Division’s regional meeting in Anaheim, Calif., speaking about future endeavors the FRA has for the rail industry and about safety enhancements moving forward. “Rail is the transportation mode of opportunity, and we have to ensure continuous safety improvements, building upon the safest [...]

Single-person train crew operations must be stopped

Mike Futhey

By Mike Futhey, SMART Transportation Division President –  The events that unfolded July 6 in the Canadian province of Quebec, where a runaway train exploded and killed 47 people in the city of Lac-Megantic, weigh on the minds of an assortment of people whose lives were touched, directly or indirectly. On that grizzly evening, a dark [...]

FRA issues emergency order on train car movement

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WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) August 2 issued an emergency order and safety advisory to help prevent trains operating on mainline tracks or sidings from moving unintentionally. The FRA’s announcement was made in response to the July 6, 2013, derailment in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, Canada, as it awaits additional data [...]

FRA issues advisory on warning system repairs

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The Federal Railroad Administration June 3 issued a safety advisory on the importance railroad safety procedures to ensure the safety of the traveling public and railroad employees when highway-rail grade crossing warning systems and wayside signal systems are temporarily removed from service for purposes of testing, inspection, maintenance, or repair. Safety Advisory 2013-04 also notes [...]