The threats to public safety, the environment and the nation’s infrastructure created by allowing trucks larger than the current federal limits have been quantified by a new study released by the Coalition Against Bigger Trucks (CABT). “Increasing the size and weight limits of trucks on the nation’s highways would divert a potentially huge amount of goods from rail to roads, further damaging the nation’s infrastructure, causing greater environmental harm and undermining highway safety,” the study says.
FRA’s Office of Research Development & Technology (RD&T) is sponsoring a research project titled “Assessing the Safety Benefits of a Real‐Time Railroad Crossing Blockage Information System for Emergency Responders.” As part of the project, the agency has contracted Winnipeg, Manitoba-based TRAINFO to develop a model to identify the risk of first responders being exposed to active rail crossings and to quantify benefits of live rail crossing data in the overall emergency response process.
Few will forget that horrific day, July 6, 2013, when a crewless, runaway Montreal, Maine & Atlantic crude oil train with five locomotives and 75 loaded DOT-111 tank cars carrying volatile Bakken crude rolled into Lac-Mégantic, Quebec and derailed. The resulting fireballs and explosions (contrary to popular belief, the derailed cars did not explode; their contents ignited after the tanks had been breached) killed 47 people, and a large section of the downtown area was destroyed. The tragedy’s aftermath, as well as accidents involving other CBR trains in the U.S. and Canada, led to a long regulatory process resulting in the stronger DOT 117 tank car as well as several changes to CBR operating regulations.
Some of the nation’s largest shippers and retailers right now are renewing their pursuit of major increases to the size and weight of trucks allowed on the nation’s highways. For example, as
TekTracking LLC announced a new order as part of the continued rollout of Gate Light (GLM) and Safety Light Monitors (SLM) at grade crossing locations on a Class I railroad in western Canada.
The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has awarded $528,028 in Railroad Trespassing Enforcement Grants to 11 projects in six states in an effort to support life-saving trespass abatement.
Knorr-Bremse hopes to support railway operators worldwide and bolster health and comfort in rail transport with its clean[air] technology, developed by Knorr-Bremse’s climate control brand MERAK.
Focused Technology Solutions, a Marmon/Berkshire Hathaway Company, developer of the SpikeEase battery-operated spike puller, has released what it calls its “latest disruptive technology” to the rail market, the DrillEase battery-operated tie drill.
The Short Line Safety Institute (SLSI) has chosen Julia Leone, Ph.D., as Manager, Research and Organizational Development. Leone will work with senior leadership in an effort to establish and manage the priorities and goals for process improvements; building systems to monitor, evaluate and report on progress; and direct efforts to ensure quality and consistency through the application of systematic approaches in its programmatic design and execution. She will also lead SLSI’s research efforts.
The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), in consultation with the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), issued on June 19 a final rule authorizing the bulk transportation of liquefied natural gas (LNG) by rail.