If one looks at recent developments, the Federal Railroad Administration’s withdrawal of the two-person-crew-minimum NPRM (Notice of Proposed Rulemaking), it may seem “logical” to say the march toward one-person crews is accelerating. However, that may be an illusion.
Federal Railroad Administration
The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) recently announced that 45 projects in 29 states will benefit from $326 million-plus in grant money under the Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements (CRISI) Program and the Special Transportation Circumstances (STC) Program.
Railway Age, June 2019 Issue, The Evolution in Track Geometry Technology: As railroaders know, establishing and maintaining proper track geometry requires frequent attention to maintain safe and fluid operation. Despite best efforts, derailments will occasionally occur due to geometry exceptions, prompting track engineers to look for more effective methods of correcting issues before they become problems.
The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) First Quarter 2019 Positive Train Control Progress Report shows “significant progress” toward full implementation on required rights-of-way, which must be completed by Dec. 31, 2020.
Citing that “no regulation of train crew staffing is necessary or appropriate for railroad operations to be conducted safely at this time,” the Federal Railroad Administration on May 23 cancelled its April 2014 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to mandate a minimum of two crew members on every freight train. Additionally, FRA is preempting—under Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution, which gives the federal government dominion over interstate commerce—all state laws mandating crew size within state borders.
News item: The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) announced May 23 that it is cancelling an April 2014 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to mandate a minimum of two crewmembers on every freight train. Additionally, the agency is preempting, as it may under Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution giving the federal government dominion over interstate commerce, all state laws mandating crew size within state borders.
The Federal Railroad Administration recently announced a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to update the regulation that governs locomotive engineer qualification and certification to make it consistent with the corresponding regulation for conductors. The proposed rule would adopt the conductor certification regulation process established in 2012 by making conforming amendments to the engineer certification regulation, which was first issued in 1991 and last amended in 2000.
Failure to provide an effective mitigation method for a hazardous curve and inadequate training of a locomotive engineer is what led to the derailment of an Amtrak passenger train that hurtled off a railroad bridge and onto a busy highway in DuPont, Wash., on the morning of Dec. 18, 2017, according to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).
LEGISLATIVE REPORT, APRIL 2019 – Knock, knock. Who’s there? If at the door are those laboring in official Washington, the answer is, “many new faces”—new congressional committee chairs, regulators, association chiefs, lobbyists and labor negotiators. Does not danger dwell where unfamiliarity and uncertainty lurk?
Norfolk Southern has filed a petition with the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) for a waiver of compliance from certain provisions of federal railroad safety regulations regarding refresher training for mechanical inspectors, “FRA WAIVER PETITION DOCKET No. FRA-2018-0100, Brake System Safety Standards for Freight and Other Non-passenger Trains and Equipment, End-Of-Train Devices (49 C.F.R. Part 232).” Two unions have filed comments disputing NS’s petition.