Posts Tagged ‘FRA’

FRA Wants Guidance on High-Speed Rail Rules

June 3, 2017

The Federal Railroad Administration is seeking guidance from the White House before it issues standards for high-speed rail lines.

The FRA has been working on the rules for several months but has held them back because of a Trump administration requirement that agencies eliminate two regulations for every new regulation that they issue.

A news report this past week published by The Bureau of National Affairs, a division of Bloomberg, quoted the FRA’s chief safety officer, Robert Lauby, as saying that the high-speed regulations are “complete or ready to be issued,” but the agency lacks an appointed administrator or deputy administrator.

“We want to get some new leadership. We want to get some consistency and have some more direction,” Lauby said. “There’s more questions that need to be answered before we will have a firm way forward.”

The proposed high-speed rail rules were released last November and are designed to create a new tier of safety standards that allow passenger rail service at speeds up to 220 mph along lines shared with commuter and other rail.

At the present, the fastest train in America is Amtrak’s Acela Express, which hits 150 mph in some places in the Northeast Corridor.

Lauby said the rail industry wants the regulations released, calling them “well-liked” because they will provide cost-savings and were developed in coordination with rail and affected industries.

“Rather than have a big question mark, this provides predictability,” Lauby said. “They know exactly what they need to build. They can do accurate costs estimates, and they can have good proposals, and they can compete with each other.”

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FRA Reports PTC Progress

March 20, 2017

A Federal Railroad Administration report released last week said that positive train control has been installed and is active on 16 percent of freight railroads and 24 percent of passenger railroads.

That is an increase from 16 percent on freight railroads and 23 percent of passenger railroads in the third quarter of 2016.

The FRA said that 41 percent of passenger railroad locomotives are fully equipped with PTC technology, compared with 29 percent in the third quarter.

The percentage of freight railroad locomotives equipped with PTC rose to 42 percent compared with 38 percent in the third quarter of 2016.

The railroad industry faces a Dec. 31, 2018, deadline to install and implement PTC.

Ohio Project Gets Share of FRA Grant Money

September 14, 2016

The Ohio Rail Development Commission has been awarded  $600,000 by the Federal Railroad Administration that will be used to upgrade 9.7 miles of track to Class II standards on the Ohio South Central Railroad from Hamden to Red Diamond.

FRAThe award was one of several the FRA handed out recently for projects in 14 states and the District of Columbia that will benefit from $25 million in federal grant money.

The grants will be used to improve safety at railroad grade crossings, passenger rail stations, and rebuild tracks. Other major grants included:

  • $2.6 million to add two platform access points at the East Chicago, Indiana, station on the South Shore commuter railroad.
    • $129,537 to make improvements at 321 grade crossings in 10 Indiana and Illinois counties along the Indiana Rail Road.
  • $640,000 to the Indiana Department of Transportation to upgrade four major at-risk grade crossings with improvements that include flashing signals, over-lane cantilevers, automatic gates, constant warning time circuitry, and warning bells.