February 1, 2015

Committee holds hearing on freight rail challenges

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U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, today held his second hearing as chairman entitled, “Freight Rail Transportation: Enhancing Safety, Efficiency, and Commerce.” The hearing focused on challenges facing our nation’s freight rail network created by higher demand, pending and proposed rules and regulations, and infrastructure needs. [...]

NTSB increases pressure for automatic train braking

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The National Transportation Safety Board on Tuesday issued its annual tally of Most Wanted Transportation Safety Improvements, adding to the list for the first time the issue of the safety of railroad tank cars carrying crude oil and ethanol. The safety board also urged the railroad industry to adopt a technology known as “Positive Train [...]

KCSR starts training, data surveying of PTC

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Kansas City Southern Railway Co. (KCSR) has begun employee training and data surveying as part of its effort to implement positive train control (PTC) by year’s end. Last week, employees began to receive training on PTC track and wayside data management at KCSR’s TEaM Training Center in Shreveport, La. About 160 workers were trained and [...]

Blumenthal wants to convene Senate PTC hearing

WASHINGTON – A group of Connecticut lawmakers is calling for action on rail-safety technology that could prevent future train collisions like the fatal “deadman’s curve” crash late last year in the Bronx. The Positive Train Control technology, or PTC would override human error by automatically slowing or stopping trains that are speeding, entering work zones [...]

FCC, rails deal addresses tribal PTC concerns

The railroad industry took a step toward resolving a dispute with American Indian tribes that has stalled the biggest rail-safety project in U.S. history. The $13.2 billion build-out of networks of sensors, which automatically slow or stop trains if a crash seems probable, has been held up as some tribes exercised their rights to review [...]

AAR: FCC policies delaying PTC

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WASHINGTON – In a new report updating the industry’s progress on installing positive train control, the nation’s freight railroads said that a year-long moratorium on installing 20,000 communication antennas imposed by the Federal Communications Commission, followed by a lengthy federal approval process mandated by the agency, has seriously delayed the implementation of nationwide interoperable PTC. [...]

Rails tell Congress they won’t meet PTC deadline

WASHINGTON – Railroads warned Congress again Wednesday they wouldn’t meet a 2015 deadline for automatic braking on trains, but engineers and safety officials urged adoption of the technology that might have prevented the fatal Metro North crash in New York this past December. Freight railroads have spent $4 billion for braking equipment for trains to [...]

Metrolink to roll out collision avoidance system

The Metrolink passenger railroad Thursday (Feb. 20) will become the first commuter service in the nation to roll out a sophisticated collision avoidance system designed to overcome human error. Had so-called positive train control been in place five years ago, experts say, it would have prevented Metrolink’s deadly Chatsworth crash. In that accident, an engineer [...]

FCC to revive PTC effort stalled by tribal reviews

Regulators proposed a streamlined process for American Indian tribes to complete reviews that railroads have said make it difficult to meet deadlines for finishing the biggest rail-safety project in U.S. history. Tribes would get less time to review, for historic significance, proposed locations for 22,000 U.S. communications antennae and would need to accept bulk applications [...]

NTSB: We need automatic braking on all trains

Last month, a Metro-North Railroad train plunged off the track while taking a sharp curve at 82 miles per hour, killing four and seriously injuring 20. In the aftermath, some experts said the disastrous results could have been prevented by positive train control (PTC). An automatic braking system built to slow down dangerous trains, PTC [...]