Posts Tagged ‘Railroad safety standards’

FRA Finalizes Passenger Carrier Rule

August 2, 2016

The Federal Railroad Administration last week announced that it has finalized a rule that requires passenger railroads to identify safety hazards and seek to reduce and mitigate them.

FRAIn a news release, the FRA said the rule is designed to prevent safety problems from escalating into incidents, injuries or deaths.

Known as the System Safety Program, it mandates a defined and measurable safety culture that is more proactive than reactive.

“Safety has to be a consistent priority, and that means identifying problems before they escalate and turn into an incident,” said FRA Administrator Sarah Feinberg. “This new rule will help passenger railroads achieve the next generation of rail safety.”

The FRA said it will provide technical assistance on ways to set, achieve and measure safety culture and other aspects of the rule, which will go into effect 60 days from publication in the Federal Register.

Passenger railroads will be expected to hold within eight months meetings with employees who are affected by the new rule.

Pa. Crude Oil Report has 27 Suggestions

August 18, 2015

A report written for the state of Pennsylvania pertaining to crude oil by rail safety has 27 recommendations, including implementing standards for infrastructure and equipment testing, especially for track and wheel defects, and a 35 mph speed limit through urban areas.

The recommendations also call for increased inspections and protocols for coordination between state and federal agencies.

Titled “Assessment of Crude by Rail Safety Issues in Commonwealth of Pennsylvania,” the report was prepared by Allan Zarembski,  who was hired by the state in late April.

“Every week, roughly 60 to 70 trains carrying crude oil travel through Pennsylvania destined for Philadelphia or another East Coast refinery, and I have expressed grave concern regarding the transportation of this oil and have taken several steps to prevent potential oil train derailments,” said Gov. Tom Wolf. “Protecting Pennsylvanians is my top priority and Dr. Zarembski’s report is important in helping my administration take the necessary steps. I will also continue to work with CSX and Norfolk Southern, both of which have demonstrated concern for rail safety and an interest in working with my administration.”

The recommendations are divided into primary and secondary categories.

Primary categories are expected to have direct safety results and can be implemented by the railroads directly working with the state or by the state itself.

Secondary categories include actions that are more difficult to implement or which may require action by a party other than the railroad or the state.

In May, Wolf sent a letter to CSX and NS urging them to adopt improved safety initiatives for all trains with crude-by-rail cars operating in Pennsylvania and to fully and expeditiously comply with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s announced Final Rule.

To read the full report, go to

Pa. Governor Seeks Stricter Crude Oil Standards

March 4, 2015

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf has asked President Barack Obama to impose stricter crude-by-rail safety and enforcement standards.

“The potential for disaster is too great to ignore,” Wolf wrote in a letter to the president. “In my first weeks in office, I have made it a top priority to address this issue. My administration has begun to take steps to increase safety and response capability regarding trains traveling through Pennsylvania.”

Wolf cited a spate of recent derailment of trains carrying crude oil in making the case for greater federal safety standards across the board.

He is seeking a reevaluation of rail speed limits in high-density areas, stricter standards for tank cars and train braking systems, and increased federal assistance in hiring and training more rail safety inspectors.

He also wants Bakken oil treated to remove dangerous volatiles prior to shipping.

Wolf said he plans to meet with executives of Norfolk Southern and CSX to discuss ways to decrease the risk of derailments and accidents.

Rail safety standards have also not kept pace with current shipment levels, Wolf said in asking for a greater sense of urgency in creating and implementing new federal safety standards.