Posts Tagged ‘2-person crew rule’

Bill Would Mandate 2-Person Crews in Ohio

June 28, 2019

An Ohio lawmaker has introduced legislation to require two people in locomotive crews.

The bill is currently before the Ohio House Transportation and Public Safety Committee.

HB 186 establishes penalties ranging from up to $1,000 for a first violation to as much as $10,000 for a third violation within three years of the first.

The bill would also require railroads to illuminate rail yards as outlined by the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America and to construct walkways next to tracks wherever employees perform switching activities.

Trains would not be able to block grade crossings for emergency vehicles and violations would incur a fine of up to $5,000.

“Railroads are a very important part of commerce, but if you start thinking about what’s carried in a railcar, what kind of havoc that could wreak on your districts and your communities, I think it is a common sense solution to require a two-man train crew,” Rep. Brett Hudson Hillyer (R-District 98) told the committee.

Also testifying in support of the legislation was Michael Sheehy (D-District 46), who retired from CSX in 2012 after working for 40 years in the railroad industry, much of it as a conductor.

“Historically members of a freight railroad crew consisted of an engineer, a fireman, a conductor and two switchmen—a five-man crew,” Sheehy said. “With advances in technology, that crew size has been reduced to just a conductor and an engineer—a two-person crew.”

He noted that at least 10 states either have or are considering legislation requiring minimum two-person train crews.

Railway Age noted in a report about the legislation that the issue of crew size is largely a moot point because every Class 1 railroad has labor contracts requiring a two-person crew.

The Federal Railroad Administration recently ended a rule-making proceeding that would have mandated a two-person crew on every freight train.

Labor, Management Have Opposing Views in FRA Hearings on Proposed 2-Person Crew Rule

July 19, 2016

Not surprisingly, the freight railroad industry wants a proposed two-person crew mandate scrapped while labor unions think the requirement is a good idea.

Both sides cited safety rationales in their testimony during a Federal Railroad Administration hearing held last week.

FRAThe FRA is holding hearings on a proposed rule to require two-person crews on most freight trains.

Leading the opposition was the Association of American Railroads, which asserted that there is no evidence showing that two-person crews improve the safety of railroad operations for railroad employees or the public.

AAR President Edward Hamberger called the rule unnecessary regulation.

On the other side, Edward Wytkind, president of the Transportation Trades Department of the AFL-CIO said it is absurd to think that operating a 19,000-ton freight train with a single crew member is safe, adding that the public understands that.

Wytkind wants the FRA to strengthen its proposed rule to eliminate what he characterized as loopholes that provide exceptions.

“We need a strong rule from the FRA mandating a certified conductor and certified engineer on all freight trains, and we need it this year,” he said.

American Short Line and Regional Railroads Association President Linda Bauer Darr said the FRA is overlooking the economic effect of the rule on smaller railroads.

Darr said that of the 450 ASLRRA railroads, more than 100 operate with fewer than four operations employees on as little as two miles of track. Such railroads already have thin profit margins, she said.

“We are truly a small business industry and we do a lot of good work on a shoe string budget,” Darr said. “This efficiency is the reason that many small railroads survive today. We operate efficiently and we operate safely.”

FRA Gets Earful on 2-Person Crew Proposal

June 17, 2016

More than 1,400 people and organizations have commented on a proposed Federal Railroad Administration rule that would mandate two-person crews on most trains.

Not surprisingly, two railroad trade groups opposed the rule while railroad workers – whose comments made up the bulk of the comments received – are in favor of it.

FRAThe workers, most of them locomotive engineers and conductors, told stories of incidents they had encountered on the job that would have been difficult if not impossible for one person to address.

The trade groups, included the Association of American Railroads and the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association, have questioned the safety benefits the rule would deliver.

AAR said there is a lack of hard information showing that the rule would materially improve railroad safety.

The FRA has acknowledged it lacks data showing that two-person crews are inherently safer than one-person crews.

The AAR has cited several studies finding strong safety records of single-crew operation around the world.

The railroad trade groups contend that the two-person rule would be an economic burden on railroads that already operate trains with one crew member as well prevent hinder efforts to reduce crew sizes in the future through technological innovations or negotiation.

Supporting the rule are railroad labor unions, who contend that the two-person crew rule will make operations safer for employees and the public.

In a joint statement, the unions said the only safe way to operate a train is with a crew of at least two people, both of whom are federally certified.

The unions, which include the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen and the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail Transportation workers Transportation Division cited crew member fatigue as the industry’s top safety issue.

They pointed to unpredictable work hours and too many required tasks putting added pressures on crew members and making their work more complex.

The FRA will conduct public hearings on July 15.