October 9, 2015

FRA issues directive to replace tank car valves


WASHINGTON – The Department of Transportation’s Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) March 13 issued a Railworthiness Directive requiring railroad tank car owners to replace unapproved valves currently installed in some tank cars. The valves in question are UNNR ball valves manufactured and sold by McKenzie Valve & Machining LLC (McKenzie). Recent FRA investigations revealed that the [...]

Dangerous trains, aging rails

A CSX freight train ran off the rails last month in rural Mount Carbon, W.Va. One after another, exploding rail cars sent hellish fireballs hundreds of feet into the clear winter sky. Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin declared a state of emergency, and the fires burned for several days. The Feb. 16 accident was one of [...]

FRA may require risk reduction programs


The Federal Railroad Administration is considering a rule that would require Class I freight railroads and railroads with poor safety performances to develop and implement formal risk reduction programs. A risk reduction program would involve employees working together to identify potential hazards and determine plans to reduce or eliminate associated risks, FRA said in a [...]

FRA campaigns to enhance grade crossing safety


WASHINGTON – As part of its ongoing effort to improve safety at railroad grade crossings, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) Feb. 27 announced the first step in a new, multi-faceted campaign aimed at strengthening enforcement and safety awareness at grade crossings. The first phase of this effort calls upon local law enforcement agencies to show [...]

FRA’s investigation into W. Va. derailment begins


On Feb. 22 the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) announced that is now able to move forward with its full-scale forensic investigation into the derailment outside of Montgomery, W. Va., followed by a slower start earlier this week hampered by weather and safety concerns. During a media conference in Boomer, W. [...]

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


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


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

Amtrak Logo

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 [...]