Regulatory

SLSI picks Cotton for key post

The American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association (ASLRRA) Short Line Safety Institute (SLSI) has named Sam Cotton as Senior Manager, Safety and Operations, replacing Mike Long, who recently accepted a position with the Federal Railroad Administration. Cotton will be responsible for management of SLSI’s Safety Culture Assessment program, a “voluntary, non-punitive and confidential five-to-ten-day onsite process with a rigorous methodology that includes an online survey of staff, discussions with management, and observations of a railroad’s daily practices.”

Where are railroad medical standards?

Why don’t the railroads have comprehensive medical fitness-for-duty standards? Why does this persist, in spite of several train collisions and derailments attributed to medical issues like untreated obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)? This analysis of those questions considers the in-terests and relationships among the three primary interested parties: railroad management, railroad labor and the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), the regulator.

Marino to retire from PANY&NJ

Port Authority of New York & New Jersey Director of Rail Transit and PATH (Port Authority Trans-Hudson) General Manager Michael Marino is scheduled to retire in January 2019 after a distinguished 45-year railroad industry career. The Port Authority has launched a nationwide executive search for a replacement.

Congress moving toward Chinese railcar ban: Eno

The U.S. Senate and House of Representatives have each passed versions of a U.S. Department of Transportation 2019 appropriations bill that would impose a one-year ban on new procurements of transit railcars or buses from companies owned or subsidized by the Chinese government (namely, CRRC, China Railway Rolling Stock Corp.), if the procurement uses any Federal Transit Administration formula or bus funding, according to an Aug. 1 Eno Center for Transportation report written by Jeff Davis, Senior Fellow and Editor of Eno Transportation Weekly.

FRA certifies TrackAsset software

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has approved Railroad Software’s TrackAsset application for electronic capture of signal inspections, as outlined in FRA 49 CFR §§ 234.273 and 236.110. TrackAsset “provides visibility for signal maintainers and maintenance-of-way employees to easily track upcoming inspections and generate work orders to complete them,” the company says.

Tempest in a tank car

Industry watchers greeted the news of the recent BNSF derailment in Doon, Iowa, as typical ho-hum news. 32 tank railcars hauling crude derailed on a stretch of track that had been compromised by floodwaters. Several of the cars were ruptured and there was a crude spill. Emergency services (BNSF and others) were able to contain the size of the spill, and residents of the area were evacuated as a precaution. Luckily for all parties involved, there was no conflagration whatsoever as a result of the derailment.

FRA: $318 Million CRISI Program

The Federal Railroad Administration has issued a Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for the Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements (CRISI) Program that includes more than $318 million in grant funding from the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018.