FTA awards grants for urban rail projects

The Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA) announced that it has allocated $281 million in Capital Investment Grants to five rail projects in Arizona, California, and Texas.

Hours of Service: Where we’ve been; where we need to be

Work exhaustion and lack of effectiveness to properly carry out job functions to the highest standards put people at risk on a railroad. The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) makes it a strong priority to know when employees are on the clock working on the movement or function of a train and when they are not. These regulations and time tracking fall into the Hours of Service (HOS) law. They must be met within FRA standards; railroads face fines and penalties if they aren’t met.

FRA finalizes HSR rulemaking

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) on Nov. 21 issued a final rule establishing what it’s calling” modern, performance-based safety standards for railroad passenger equipment.” The rule, characterized as a “deregulatory action” under Executive Order (EO) 13771, “Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs,” is expected to save more than $475 million in net regulatory costs.

3Q18 PTC stats show good progress

Federal Railroad Administration third-quarter 2018 Positive Train Control (PTC) data shows railroads’ “continued progress toward meeting the year-end deadline for fully implementing PTC systems or qualifying for an alternative schedule,” FRA said on Nov. 21.

Amtrak touts performance, financial records

In the midst of controversy surrounding scale-backs in meal services; widely held beliefs that current management is targeting long-distance trains for elimination, or at the very least, truncation; and accusations of questionable accounting methods, Amtrak on Nov. 16 announced preliminary “record revenue and earnings” for its fiscal year ended Sept. 30, 2018. “Strong management and improved product delivery and customer service led the company to its best operating performance in company history, despite challenges during the year,” Amtrak said.

Who will protect the French Fries?

Financial Edge, November 2018: In mid-September, CSX filed a report to the FRA stating that its June 2018 derailment near Princeton, Ind., (about 150 miles south of Indianapolis) was caused by buckled track. The derailment included 23 freight cars and caused the evacuation of nearby homes (within a radius of about one mile from the crash site) as a precautionary measure. Some of the derailed cars were carrying liquid petroleum gas (LPG or NGLs) and liquid propane (LP). 60,000 gallons of liquid NGLs were released. One tank railcar filled with leaking propane was on fire.

Calling all Fast Trackers nominations!

Railway Age presents its fourth annual Fast Trackers awards, in which we will profile ten individuals under the age of 40 who have made an impact in their respective fields or within their company.

RSI appoints Thomure safety, regs chief; names new board members

The Railway Supply Institute (RSI) has named veteran railcar professional Randall Thomure Director of Regulatory Affairs and Safety, with oversight responsibility for technical and regulatory strategies related to safety and operations. He will also manage RSI’s project committees, and collaborate with members and stakeholders “to promote policies that incentivize new technologies to improve safe, efficient railroad operations.”

DOT’s Chao calls on railroad industry to improve grade crossing safety

WASHINGTON – The Department of Transportation and Federal Railroad Administration are sounding an urgent warning about grade crossing safety, and asking the industry to collaborate on improvements.

A failure to communicate—again

I began using a CPAP machine in 2008—four years before I retired from my career as a locomotive engineer—and I continue to do so religiously. I didn’t have to be badgered or threatened. It wasn’t made a condition of my continued employment. My motive was and remains strictly self serving: I want to live.

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