NTSB Concerned About Exemption Rule

The National Transportation Safety Board expressed concern this week over an effort by the railroad industry to receive an exemption from the usual process to approve trackage rights to address situations such as natural disasters or accidents.

NTSB said in a filing with the U.S. Surface Transportation Board that safety could be compromised because crews are working on territory with which they are unfamiliar.

The exemption is being sought by the Association of American Railroads.

Under current regulations, an exemption cannot become effective until 30 days after the railroad files a notice unless the STB provides a waiver. AAR wants the exemption to take effect five days after a notice is filed.

In its filing the NTSB cited two Amtrak accidents in which passenger carrier operating crews were operating in new territory.

In case, a train derailed in Washington State because it was speeding into a 30 mph curve. In another an Amtrak train struck the rear of a stopped Norfolk Southern freight train because the Amtrak crew misreading a signal aspect with which it was not familiar.

The NTSB said it understands the need for the temporary trackage rights, but that “clear safety requirements are necessary to mitigate the risks” of crew members operating in unfamiliar territory.

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One Response to “NTSB Concerned About Exemption Rule”

  1. pwwoodring Says:

    It’s very simple, if a railroad needs one of their trains to detour over another railroad’s line, that train needs a pilot from the host railroad. I thought that was the industry standard?

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