FRA Issues Advisory on Train Consists

The Federal Railroad Administration is urging railroads to assess potential safety risks when making up the consists of freight trains.

An FRA advisory calls on the carriers to undertake “due diligence” in regards to placement of empty and loaded cars, distributed power arrangements and other factors.

A news release issued by the agency indicated that the advisory was issued in the wake of a series of derailment over the pat two years, some of which involved hazardous materials.

Recommendations made by the FRA include:

• Review and update train makeup, policies, procedures and guidelines to ensure they are comprehensive, effective and current.

• Ensure all personnel involved in train makeup decisions and operations receive training, guidance and supervision to execute such practices to ensure safe operations.

• Establish a system to monitor and assess train makeup practices.

• Encourage communication among train crews, dispatchers, yardmasters and maintenance personnel.

• Implement strategies to mitigate risks associated with train build factors.

• Enhance incident investigation procedures to address train makeup factors and their potential contribution to the cause of an incident.

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