December 1, 2015

Feinberg tells railroads: ‘No more breaks on PTC’


The nation’s rail safety chief told a group of railroad officials she expects them to complete a long-delayed collision-avoidance system by the end of 2018 and to not count on Congress to give them an additional reprieve. Recent legislation approved by Congress and signed by President Barack Obama gives them a three-year extension to complete positive [...]

Rail industry had safety technology decades ago

WASHINGTON — In 1981, while traveling on a corporate jet, Richard M. Bressler, the chairman of the Burlington Northern Railroad, hit on an idea: What if the technology used by airlines to track the location of planes and help prevent accidents was applied to the rail industry? Mr. Bressler, an engineer by training and a [...]

Senate passes PTC extension, confirms Feinberg as FRA administrator

The U.S. Senate yesterday passed a short-term surface transportation funding extension that includes a long-term extension of the positive train control (PTC) implementation deadline. The Senate’s action followed the House’s approval of the bill on Tuesday, and President Obama is expected to sign it. The legislation reauthorizes funding of transportation programs through Nov. 20, and [...]

Most railroads won’t meet PTC deadline


WASHINGTON — The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) sent its Status of Positive Train Control Implementation report to Congress. The report is mandated by the House of Representatives Appropriations Committee and shows that after seven years and significant assistance from FRA, most railroads will miss the Dec. 31, 2015 positive train control (PTC) implementation deadline that Congress established [...]

Senate votes to delay speed control system


Washington, D.C. — The U.S. Senate on Thursday voted to delay a year-end deadline for railroads to install automatic speed control equipment that would have averted a fatal Amtrak crash several months ago.  The Senate passed $350 billion legislation to renew federal highway and rail programs for six years, 65-34, but the measure gives railroads another three years [...]

Rail safety upgrades stalled on Capitol Hill


Two months after a deadly Amtrak crash outside of Philadelphia thrust the issue back into the spotlight, frustrated legislators in the Northeast are seemingly no closer to getting the rail-safety upgrades they want. The transportation measure sitting on the floor of the Senate would seem the best vehicle for them, even as it faces an [...]

Senate to debate 3-year delay for rail safety system


Washington, D.C. — Two months after the high-speed derailment of an Amtrak train killed eight people and injured hundreds more in Philadelphia, a Senate transportation bill headed for debate this week calls for a three-year delay of the deadline for installing a rail safety system that experts say would have almost certainly prevented the Pennsylvania [...]

Critics say Senate bill would weaken rail safety

Washington, D.C. — A transportation bill introduced by a Senate committee chairman would allow car rental companies to rent recalled vehicles that haven’t been repaired and eliminate any hard deadline for railroads to start using long-sought technology that automatically stops trains to prevent crashes, safety advocates say. The bill was introduced Thursday by Sen. John [...]

Senate Commerce Committee approves rail reforms

Senate Commerce Committee

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation June 25, on a voice vote, approved the bipartisan “Railroad Reform, Enhancement, and Efficiency Act,” sponsored by Sens. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and Cory Booker (D-N.J.), with seven amendments. The measure improves rail safety, reauthorizes Amtrak services and improves existing passenger rail infrastructure. It [...]

BLET/SMART TD statement on Positive Train Control, crew size following fatal Amtrak derailment in Philadelphia


(The following is a joint statement by Dennis R. Pierce, National President of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen, and John Previsich, President, SMART Transportation Division, regarding questions that have arisen since the fatal Amtrak derailment in Philadelphia on May 12, 2015.) CLEVELAND, May 19 — Members of BLET’s Safety Task Force and SMART [...]