February 12, 2016

SMART TD opposes auto control systems in FRA letter


In a letter to the Federal Railroad Administration’s (FRA) Associate Administrator for Safety Robert Lauby, SMART Transportation Division’s National Legislative Director John Risch called on the FRA to issue an emergency order prohibiting the use of auto control systems. In his letter, Risch maintained that the FRA should regulate these systems, just as cell phones [...]

SMART TD, BLET petition FRA for speed signs


SMART TD and the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen (BLET) have submitted a petition to the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) for rulemaking that mandates uniform warning speed signs in advance of a permanent speed restriction. SMART TD National Legislative Director John Risch said, “Not having speed signs would be like listing all the traffic [...]

SMART TD weighs in on CP’s NS takeover bid


“You don’t merge two railroads like this to create job opportunities, but to boost profits for a few investors,” stated John Risch, National Legislative Director of SMART Transportation Division, to Reuters reporter, Nick Carey. Click here to read the complete Reuters article.

Former N.D. State Director Alton Schuette dies

Alton Schuette

Former N.D. State Director Alton Schuette, 93, of Bismarck, N.D. died Dec. 10, 2015, at a Bismarck care center. Schuette enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1943 and was deployed during World War II at the battle of Iwo Jima. After Iwo Jima was secured, Schuette was sent to China. After receiving his discharge in [...]

SMART TD praises passage of FAST Act


On December 3, 2015, Congress passed H.R. 22, the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST ACT) by overwhelming bipartisan votes of 83 to 16 and 359 to 65 in the Senate and House respectively. The legislation is the first long-term surface transportation reauthorization in a decade and provides funding and policy changes for our nation’s [...]

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 [...]