October 8, 2015

Can ECP brakes stop train disasters in suburbs?


CHICAGO – As a former railroad brakeman, the region’s top planner Joe Szabo knows how to stop a train. So it’s significant he backs a controversial new federal rule requiring freight railroads to install electronic braking systems on trains carrying crude oil and ethanol. Shiploads of volatile fuel are increasing in the Chicago region with [...]

Amtrak renames Chicago operations center for Szabo

Amtrak on Tuesday renamed its operations center in Chicago to honor Joseph Szabo, a fifth-generation railroader who headed the Federal Railroad Administration for 51/2 years of the Obama administration. Szabo, 56, left the administration in December to return to Chicago, where he is a senior policy adviser on transportation at the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for [...]

FRA’s Szabo comments on Calif. high-speed rail


Federal Railroad Administrator Joe Szabo offered the following remarks at the groundbreaking for the California High-Speed Rail project in Fresno, Calif., Jan. 6. Good afternoon, everyone. Governor Brown, Congressman Costa, Administrator McCarthy, Chairman Richards – everyone here today – I bring you greetings on behalf of President Obama and Secretary Foxx. Today we make history – [...]

Szabo: Proposed rules on hazmat need your input


The following message was sent to the SMART Transportation Division National Legislative Office from Federal Railroad Administrator Joe Szabo. Friends: Last week, the U.S. Department of Transportation released two companion rulemaking proposals to improve the safe transportation of large quantities of flammable materials by rail. The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Administration’s (PHMSA) Notice of Proposed [...]

Szabo offers oversight of passenger, freight rail safety

Federal Railroad Administrator Joseph Szabo addressed members of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure’s Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials Feb. 26, providing them with oversight of passenger and freight rail safety and responding to questions. Also addressing the subcommittee were Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), U.S. Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) and Cynthia Quarterman, [...]

Szabo: Moving in right direction thanks to SOFA


The following message was sent to the UTU National Legislative Office from Federal Railroad Administrator Joe Szabo. Friends, I wanted to share with you a rail safety achievement from 2013 that really meant a lot to me. Last year, only one railroad employee died during switching operations. As I wrote on the DOT blog, this [...]

FRA’s Szabo addresses 50th meeting of RSAC


The following are Federal Railroad Administrator Joseph Szabo’s opening remarks to those attending the 50th meeting of the Railroad Safety Advisory Committee (RSAC) in Washington on Oct. 31, 2013. Today marks the end of a stressful month. The government shutdown forced us to put a lot of important work on hold. And since it ended, we’ve [...]

Szabo ‘shocked’ at MM&A’s one-person train crews

The nation’s top railroad administrator has told the Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway that he is “shocked” that the company has not adopted a policy of using two-person crews on its trains in the United States. In a letter to the Maine-based company, Federal Railroad Administration Administrator Joseph Szabo said he expects the railroad to [...]

Szabo: ‘Rail is the transportation mode of opportunity’


On July 30, Federal Railroad Administrator Joe Szabo addressed attendees of the SMART Transportation Division’s regional meeting in Anaheim, Calif., speaking about future endeavors the FRA has for the rail industry and about safety enhancements moving forward. “Rail is the transportation mode of opportunity, and we have to ensure continuous safety improvements, building upon the safest [...]

FRA issues emergency order on train car movement


WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) August 2 issued an emergency order and safety advisory to help prevent trains operating on mainline tracks or sidings from moving unintentionally. The FRA’s announcement was made in response to the July 6, 2013, derailment in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, Canada, as it awaits additional data [...]