August 3, 2015

Rail safety upgrades stalled on Capitol Hill

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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 [...]

Sen. Sherrod Brown pushes bill for safer oil tankers

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U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D. – Ohio) on Wednesday called for doing more to better protect Ohio communities by removing the older railcars transporting hazardous materials. “We’ve seen too many derailments of trains with unsafe cars, often carrying crude oil and other hazardous material. It’s time to put a stop to these dangerous and costly [...]

GOP bill would undermine auto, rail safety regulations

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Washington, D.C. – At a time of record auto recalls and high-profile train wrecks, Republicans are working on legislation to roll back safety regulation of the auto and railroad industries. A bill approved this week on a party-line vote by a Senate committee brims with industry-sought provisions that would block, delay or roll back safety [...]

FRA campaigns to enhance grade crossing safety

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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 [...]

Editorial: Do not reduce train crews to one

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With profit seemingly driving all business decisions, it shouldn’t be a surprise that the country’s major railroad companies are continuing their quest to reduce freight trains crews … to one person. Not surprising, but scary. The railroad bosses are united in their desire for this change, citing technological advances. Labor groups, those living on rail [...]

NTSB outlines measures to protect rail workers

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Railroad and rail transit roadway workers are subject to on-the-job risks and hazards markedly different from those faced by other railroad employees. The jobs of railroad engineers and conductors include risks primarily related to moving trains – derailments, collisions with other trains; the jobs of roadway workers involve hazards that include moving rolling stock and [...]

Panel recommends safety improvements at N.Y. MTA

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Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s (MTA) Blue Ribbon Panel studying safety and maintenance practices at its three railroads yesterday announced 29 recommendations to improve operations and safety. Created a year ago after a series of safety-related incidents at MTA Metro-North Railroad, Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) and New York City Transit (NYCT), the panel identified Metro-North’s safety [...]

Influence game: Shaping railroad safety rules

WASHINGTON – A string of fiery train derailments across the country has triggered a high-stakes but behind-the-scenes campaign to shape how the government responds to calls for tighter safety rules. Billions of dollars are riding on how these rules are written, and lobbyists from the railroads, tank car manufacturers and the oil, ethanol and chemical [...]

No culture of safety at NJT, union official says

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Conductors assaulted on trains. Employee facilities that are filthy and infested with rodents. A culture where “an on-time train is better than a safe train.” An New Jersey Transit union official said Tuesday (April 8) there is no culture of safety at the statewide transportation agency. “We just go about our work every day and we’re not [...]

Report finds punctuality trumps safety at Metro-North

The Metro-North Railroad has fallen prey to a “deficient safety culture” that prizes on-time performance at the expense of protecting riders and workers, according to a blistering federal review that was ordered after a spate of rail disasters. The review, from the Federal Railroad Administration, found that the commuter railroad’s operations control center pressured workers [...]