November 25, 2015

Two-person crew amendment will not move forward


In a letter to state directors, National Legislative Director John Risch and Alternate National Legislative Director Greg Hynes report the following: “Unfortunately, a two-person crew amendment WILL NOT be offered to H.R. 3763, the Surface Transportation Reauthorization and Reform (STRR) Act of 2015. “Due to the expected rules governing consideration of the legislation and agreements [...]

Calif. governor signs two-person train crew bill into law


Governor Jerry Brown of California September 8, 2015, signed into law bipartisan legislation requiring that all freight trains and light engines are operated by a crew of at least two individuals. SMART Transportation Division National Legislative Director, John Risch, praised the new law: “I am very pleased that California has joined Wisconsin, Arizona and West [...]

Female engineer inducted into Railroad Hall of Fame

Headshot_Ramona Dockter

When Ramona Dockter was a senior in high school, her brother asked her what she wanted to be. She told him that she wanted to work on the railroad like her father, and she did. For several months, 18-year-old Dockter worked as a brakeman alongside engineers who helped her understand railroading, including Ray Schlosser, Franky [...]

Labor groups led lobbying blitz on oil-by-rail rule


During the past two months, more than a dozen oil and rail industry groups jockeyed for attention as Obama administration officials put the finishing touches on a major crude-by-rail safety rule. But as firms such as Exxon Mobil Corp., Hess Corp. and CSX Corp. led one last lobbying blitz, several environmentalist and labor organizations paid [...]

SMART TD applauds DOT’s tank car final rule


Washington, D.C. – Earlier today, the Department of Transportation (DOT) announced its final rule for rail shipments of flammable liquids. The rule calls for enhanced safety standards for High-Hazard Flammable Trains (HHFT), including stricter tank car construction standards, the phasing out of older tank car models, the use of electronically controlled pneumatic brakes (ECP), and [...]

Risch: The election is over, let’s get to work


By John Risch, National Legislative Director –  Thanks to all of you who helped in our Get Out the Vote Campaign. Your generosity with your PAC contributions, emails and direct mail efforts, volunteer phone calling, door knocking, and your conversations with friends and fellow members made a difference in many races. Even where our endorsed candidates [...]

It definitely matters whom we elect to Congress


Congressional elections do matter. Actions of Congress can make a big difference when it comes to our job security, our wages, our fringe benefits, our retirement and safety in our workplace. In this issue of the SMART Transportation Division News are our official endorsements for the Nov. 4 election. These endorsements are based on recommendations [...]

Newspaper reports on SMART TD’s Risch


One Bismarck man has ridden the rails from shoveling rock and swinging a spike mallet in the railyard to top official of the country’s largest railway employee union. John Risch has been elected national legislative director of the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers. His five-year term starts Oct. 1. Read [...]

Sen. Jay Rockefeller introduces clean coal legislation


WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller unveiled an initiative to advance the commercial deployment of clean coal technologies. On May 5, Rockefeller introduced two bills in the U.S. Senate: The Carbon Capture and Sequestration Deployment Act of 2014 seeks to facilitate the development and commercial deployment of Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS) technologies. The Expanding Carbon Capture [...]

Metrolink leading way installing PTC

Metrolink _Train_Only v2

Positive train control (PTC) is modern technology to reduce train accidents, save lives and limbs, improve on-time performance and produce revenue-enhancing business benefits for railroads. PTC utilizes the satellite global positioning system (GPS), wireless communications and central control centers to monitor trains and prevent collisions by automatically applying the brakes on trains exceeding authorized speeds, [...]