BRC Eyes C3RS Participation

Written by Marybeth Luczak, Executive Editor
(BRC Photograph)

(BRC Photograph)

The Belt Railway Company of Chicago (BRC) is seeking to join the Federal Railroad Administration’s (FRA) voluntary confidential program (C3RS) that allows railroads and their employees to report close calls.

According to FRA, C3RS or the Confidential Close Call Reporting System provides a safe environment for employees to report unsafe events and conditions, and employees receive protection from discipline or sanctions. Additionally, railroads receive protection from discipline or sanctions for events reported within C3RS.

BRC and the labor unions that represent its schedule employees—SMART–TD, BLET, ATDA, TCU, BRC Division of TCU–IAM, BMWED, BRS, IBEW, SMART–MD, ARASA, IAM, and NCFO—have petitioned FRA “for a waiver of compliance from certain provisions of the federal railroad safety regulations contained at 49 CFR part 240 (Qualification and Certification of Locomotive Engineers) and part 242 (Qualification and Certification of Conductors),” FRA reported in a May 8 Federal Register Notice. They seek to shield reporting employees and the railroad from “mandatory punitive sanctions that would otherwise arise as provided in §§ 240.117(e)(1)–(4); 240.305(a)(1)–(4) and (a)(6); 240.307; 242.403(b), (c), (e)(1)–(4), (e)(6)–(11), (f)(1)–(2); and 242.407.”

BRC is the largest intermediate switching terminal railroad in the U.S., with 28 miles of main line route. It offers more than 300 miles of switching tracks, allowing it to interchange with every railroad serving the Chicago rail hub. BRC’s clearing yards span a 5.5-mile distance among 786 acres, supporting more than 250 miles of track.

FRA welcomed interested parties to submit written views, data or comments on the BRC-union petition (Docket Number FRA–2023–0030) by July 7, 2023, before it takes final action.

In March, all seven North American Class I railroads agreed to join C3RS.

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