Special Podcast Series: Coronavirus and the Rail Industry – Insight on the Federal Stimulus Package, How the Freight Industry is Battling, and More

Rail Group News editors talk about the federal stimulus package.

FRA, Responding to Industry Joint Petition, Issues Emergency Waiver

In response to a Petition from the Association of American Railroads (AAR), American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association (ASLRRA) and American Public Transportation Association (APTA), the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has issued a 60-day emergency waiver for certain requirements of FRA’s rail safety regulations, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The petitioners, on behalf of their member railroads, requested relief from certain requirements of 49 CFR Parts 213, 214, 217, 218, 219, 220, 228, 229, 232, 234, 236, 239, 240, and 242.

PTC at 96.3%: FRA

The Federal Railroad Administration Fourth Quarter 2019 PTC Progress Report on railroads’ self-reported progress toward fully implementing Positive Train Control (PTC) by the Dec. 31, 2020 statutory deadline shows that, of the 42 railroads required to implement PTC, most are operating their systems in revenue service, or in advanced field testing known as revenue service demonstration (RSD).

FRA Issues RRP Final Rule

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has issued a final rule—49 CFR Part 271 [Docket No. FRA–2009–0038, Notice No. 7] RIN 2130–AC11—launching the Risk Reduction Program (RRP) “to support an increasing standard of safety for the nation’s freight railroads.” The final rule is effective April 20, 2020.

FRA Slots Track Safety Symposium

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) is hosting a free-of-charge Track & Roadway Workplace Safety Symposium, its first collaborative safety gathering tailored to the industry’s track maintenance and construction groups.

FRA Offering $26.3MM in FAST Funding: UPDATE

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has extended the deadline and increased available money originally announced Nov. 6 when it issued a NOFO (Notice of Funding Opportunity) for $24 million in Fiscal Year 2018 and 2019 Restoration and Enhancement Grants for “initiating, restoring, or enhancing intercity passenger rail service. The funding is made available through the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act.

FRA Launches Webpage to Report Blocked Crossings

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has launched a new webpage for the public and law enforcement to report blocked highway-rail grade crossings.

FRA NPRMs Address Track, Brake Inspection Requirements

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) on Dec. 19 issued two Notices of Proposed Rulemakings (NPRMs), one updating current Track Safety Standards (TSS), the other updating existing Brake System Safety (BSS) requirements. FRA said the proposed rules changes are designed “to promote safety innovation and reduce unnecessary regulatory burdens.” Both “will increase rail safety as well as save time.”

FRA: PTC at 92.4%

Based on self-reported Third Quarter 2019 (Q3) PTC (Positive Train Control) Progress Reports, which were due to the Federal Railroad Administration by Oct. 31, 2019, the majority of the 42 railroads subject to the statutory implementation requirement are operating PTC systems in revenue service or in advanced field testing known as a revenue service demonstration (RSD).

FRA Part 243 NPRM Good for Small Roads, Contractors

The Federal Railroad Administration on Nov. 22 published an NPRM (Notice of Proposed Rulemaking) requesting comments regarding extending the dates for Class II and III railroads that are not intercity or commuter passenger railroads with 400,000 annual employee hours or more to comply with existing Part 243 Training Rules, “Training, Qualification, and Oversight for Safety-Related Railroad Employees.”