Indiana Short Line Challenging Illinois Crew Law

The Indiana Rail Road has joined the Association of American Railroads and the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association in a lawsuit seeking to overturn enforcement of an Illinois minimum crew law.

The law requires at least two crew members on trains operating within the state.

The bill creating the rule was signed in August by Illinois Gov. J. B. Pritzker following the decision of the Federal Railroad Administration to end a rulemaking procedure into requiring at least two crew members on trains.

In ending its proceedings, the FRA said it had determined that “no regulation of train-crew staffing is necessary or appropriate” for railroads to operate safely.

The lawsuit was filed against the Illinois Commerce Commission in a federal court in Chicago and argues that federal regulations preempt state crew size laws.

The Illinois law is set to become effective on Jan. 1, 2020.

The parties to the lawsuit are asking the court to prevent Illinois from enforcing the crew size law.

In the lawsuit, the parties argue that technological breakthroughs have enabled railroads to reduce crew sizes from five in the 1960s to two at present while also improving safety.

“Now, the nation’s railroads are poised to deliver even safer and more efficient service,” the suit states, adding that the FRA inquiry found no evidence to support the argument that requiring a minimum crew size would improve safety.

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