Under FRA’s proposed rule for dispatcher certification, railroads would be required to have “formal processes for training prospective dispatchers, as well as verifying that each dispatcher has the requisite knowledge, skills, safety record, and abilities to safely perform all of the safety-related dispatcher duties mandated by federal laws and regulations, prior to certification.” (Union Pacific Photograph)

FRA: Comment Period Extended Again for Proposed Dispatcher, Signal Employee Certification Regs

The American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association (ASLRRA) on June 21 reported filing petitions with the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) requesting a 60-day extension of the comment period for two proposals that would require freight railroads, Amtrak and commuter railroads to develop certification programs for network dispatchers and signal employees. FRA on July 5 and again on Aug. 22 extended the comment period by 30 days and 15 days, respectively.

Amtrak Seeks $873MM in FRA CHIP Funding

Amtrak has submitted applications for $873 million in Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) funding for the Chicago Hub Improvement Program (CHIP) to “provide faster and more reliable service to support the Midwest’s growing

Aerial view of the Amtrak Empire Builder derailment scene, Sept. 25, 2021. (NTSB Report Photograph, Courtesy of the Billings Gazette)

NTSB: ‘Poor Track Conditions’ Led to 2021 Empire Builder Derailment

A combination of worn rail, vertical track deflection, subgrade instability and track misalignment led to the derailment of Amtrak’s westbound Empire Builder on Sept. 25, 2021, which killed three passengers and injured 49 passengers and crew members, according to the National Transportation Safety Board’s (NTSB) final investigation report, released July 27.

On June 26, 2023, a CSX conductor trainee was killed during a shoving movement at the Seagirt Marine Terminal in Baltimore, Md. Shown above: an illustrated aerial view of the accident scene. (Source: Google Earth; Courtesy of NTSB)

NTSB Issues Preliminary Report on Shove Movement Investigation Following Trainee Fatality

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has released a preliminary report for its ongoing investigation of the June 26, 2023, accident involving a CSX conductor trainee, who was killed while riding the lead railcar during a shoving movement at the Seagirt Marine Terminal in Baltimore, Md. The terminal is managed by Ports America, and the track is owned and inspected by Canton Railroad.

The environmental review and permitting process for the planned Victor Valley-to-Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. segment of Brightline West’s Las Vegas-to-Southern California high-speed rail project is complete, the Las Vegas Review Journal reported July 14.

Transit Briefs: Amtrak, Brightline West, Metrolinx, NYMTA

Idaho and Utah are seeking to revive Amtrak service between Salt Lake City and Boise. Also, Brightline West’s planned Las Vegas-to Southern California high-speed rail project advances; Metrolinx teams with Turo car-sharing in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area; and subway and bus workers in TWU Local 100 ratify their contract with the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), and an MTA survey shows increased satisfaction for subway, bus and paratransit riders.