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FRA: Tank cars must upgrade valves
Under a fairly intense political spotlight spurred by a series of high-profile rail incidents involving crude-by-rail (CBR) shipments, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has issued a "Railworthiness Directive requiring railroad…
U.S. sway affects Canada CBR safety focus
Transport Canada's selection March 11, 2015 of new tank car specifications is surely a harbinger of the choice the White House will make later this spring from among the options…
AAR lauds Transport Canada tank car proposal
Association of American Railroads (AAR) President and CEO Edward R. Hamberger responded late Wednesday, March 11, 2015, to Transport Canada's proposed TC-117 tank car standard.
Amtrak honors Joe Szabo with Chicago dedication
Amtrak on Tuesday, March 10, 2015 dedicated its Chicago railroad operations center as the Joseph C. Szabo Chicago Control Center, "in recognition of Szabo's contributions to the advancement of intercity…
Implications aplenty in Supreme Court Amtrak ruling
The Supreme Court March 9 sent back to a federal appellate court for reconsideration a freight railroad challenge to a provision of the 2008 Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act…
"Synbit" culprit in CN's second Gogama conflagration
At first sight, the March 7, 2015 Reuters bulletin looked like an accidental re-filing of a three-weeks-old news flash: “A Canadian National Railway train carrying crude oil has derailed near…
PTC relief on the way?
The U.S. railroad industry has been scrambling since 2008 to meet the requirements of an unfunded federal government mandate—namely, having Positive Train Control installed and fully operational by Dec. 31,…
Supreme Court sends tax dispute back home to Alabama
In a case involving CSX Transportation, the United States Supreme Court ruled Wednesday, March 4, 2015 that the State of Alabama should be given the chance to justify a fuel…
Why bitumen isn’t necessarily safer than Bakken
The chain reaction fireballs that attended the Feb. 16, 2015 derailment of a CSX unit oil train in populated West Virginia probably blinded observers to the significance of the concurrent…
Foxx proposes rail transit state safety oversight
Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced Friday, Feb. 20, 2015 a proposed rule "to increase oversight responsibilities of State Safety Oversight Agencies (SSOAs) by replacing the existing outdated regulatory framework with…
Better rail safety? Buck stops with the Senate
Railroads live at the intersection of necessity and disaster—the disaster substantial when dangerous cargo goes boom, is accompanied by a highly visible fireball, or threatens human life through inhalation or…
Oil train mishaps reveal tank car strengths and limitations
Two same-day derailments of crude oil trains in Canada and a third in West Virginia two days later illustrate the strengths and limitations of the newest general-purpose tank cars plying…
Delaware green groups target CBR activity
Two environmental groups on Thursday, Feb. 12, 2015 sought legal advice from a Delaware Superior Court judge on a forum to appeal state action expanding crude-by-rail (CBR) activity in the…
Foxx talks tough on PTC
Testifying before the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee on Feb. 11, 2015, U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said the DOT is “continuing to hold the industry’s feet to the fire…
Votes, media time, press clippings—or safety?
I never get tired of explaining the simple mathematics that govern safe train operations. The more thorough our grasp of the simple mathematics of time, distance, velocity, acceleration, coefficient of…
RSI-CTC to PHMSA: Stronger tank cars alone won’t do it
The Railway Supply Institute Committee on Tank Cars (RSI-CTC) on Feb. 6, 2015, released a statement regarding the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) draft rule on tank cars…
Can Sen. Thune mediate a rail/shipper cease-fire?
Could it be that Republicans in control of Congress might facilitate an end to three decades of productivity sapping legislative fisticuffs between railroads and self-proclaimed captive shippers over an appropriate…
The right equipment is not perfect equipment
After the most recent tragedy, and tragedy it is, on MTA Metro-North Railroad, U.S. Senators Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) were interviewed by telephone.
AAR to Congress: Don't hurt private investment
Testifying on Tuesday, Feb. 3, 2015 in Washington before the House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee, Association of American Railroads President and CEO Edward R. Hamberger cautioned lawmakers not to tamper…
A second act at STB for Dan Elliott?
Proving once again he has more lives than cartoon character Wile E. Coyote, former Surface Transportation Board (STB) Chairman Dan Elliott is poised to receive his second White House renomination.…
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