Safety

FRA reported on May 19 that more than 70,000 inspections were conducted in FY 2021 to assess railroad compliance with regulations and laws that govern track, motive power and equipment, operating practices, signal and train control, hazardous materials, grade crossing signal system safety, industrial hygiene, and safety management systems.

FRA Issues FY21 Safety Enforcement Report

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has released its annual enforcement report summarizing the regulatory compliance inspections and audits conducted in the past fiscal year by FRA or state inspectors participating in FRA’s rail safety program, as well as the civil penalty enforcement actions arising from them.

Watson Bryant—who earned a Railway Age “20 Under 40” award in 2021—brings both railroad operations and commercial experience to her new leadership role at NOPB.

Watson Bryant to Lead NOPB

Tomeka Watson Bryant on June 1 will be elevated to General Manager of the New Orleans Public Belt Railroad (NOPB), a wholly owned subsidiary of the Port of New Orleans (Port NOLA).

Paul J. Wiedefeld on May 16 retired from his role as General Manager and CEO of WMATA. His original retirement date was June 30, 2022.

WMATA: GM/CEO Wiedefeld, COO Leader Out (UPDATED)

Just one day after Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) announced that it was removing from service 72 rail operators due to a lapse in recertification, General Manager and CEO Paul Wiedefeld decided to step down—weeks ahead of his expected retirement date—and Chief Operating Officer Joe Leader resigned, the transit agency reported late May 16.

Lee Verhey (left), incoming Executive Director, Railway Supply Institute (RSI) Committee on Tank Cars (CTC); John Bryne, outgoing Vice Chair, RSI CTC.

Verhey to Succeed Byrne at RSI CTC

Lee Verhey will take on the Executive Director role for the Railway Supply Institute (RSI) Committee on Tank Cars (CTC), starting May 23. He succeeds RSI CTC Vice Chair John Byrne, who announced earlier this year that he would retire.

“Lapse in Metrorail [WMATA] operator recertification results in changes to certain trains effective Monday [May 16]. Green and Yellow line rail service moves to every 20 minutes beginning Monday,” WMATA reported via Twitter on May 15. (Photograph Courtesy of WMATA, Via Twitter)

WMATA Removes 72 Rail Operators

Nearly half of Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority’s (WMATA) 500 rail operators have lapsed recertification, WMATA reported May 15, prompting the agency to remove from service 72, who became out of compliance more than a year ago.

“Like many companies in the transportation industry, VIA Rail continued to face the impacts of the various waves of the pandemic,” Chief Financial Officer Marie-Claude Cardin reported. “Nonetheless, as we have always done over the past two years, we found ways to strike a balance between our important public service mandate while proactively managing the financial impacts on our operations.” (VIA Rail)

VIA Rail Releases 2021 Annual Report

“Despite the upheaval caused by the pandemic, we have successfully pursued our strategic plan, including the unveiling of our new fleet and the advancement of the High Frequency Rail project,” VIA Rail Canada Board Chair Françoise Bertrand said upon release of the railroad’s 2021 Annual Report.