Posts Tagged ‘railroad safety’

Short Line Group Helps With Safety Culture

October 14, 2021

The Short Line Safety Institute has published online resources designed to help short line and regional railroads improve their safety cultures.

In a news release, SLSI said the three offerings include: a Safety Communication Poster Program, a “Lost in Translation” paper and a HazMat Minute and Safety Minute video series.

SLSI noted that the Federal Railroad Administration’s Office of Research, Development and Technology recently released the results of SLSI’s 2020 Systematic Review of Safety Culture Assessments conducted on short lines.

The trade association developed the poster program in response to those findings.

For more information visit https://www.shortlinesafety.org/

CSX Creates Safety Training Train

October 11, 2021

CSX has created a safety train designed to provide hazardous materials safety training to first responders in its 23-state network.

In a news release, CSX said it trains thousands of first responders every year through classroom training in local firehouses, exercises and table-top drills, as well as web-based and self-study courses.

The safety train features a mobile classroom and technologically advanced equipment and is designed to supplement the railroad’s existing safety training efforts.

CSX said its safety training program also includes working with its employees, customers and contractors.

The goal of the training is to provide first responders with railroad safety tools, hazard identification protocols and transportation techniques to safely respond and protect the public in the event of a rail emergency.

NTSB Wants Changes in Track Protection

October 1, 2021

The National Transportation Safety Board wants Amtrak and the Federal Railroad Administration to ban the practice of using watchmen to notify track worker of approaching trains in areas where positive train control offers additional safety features.

The recommendation was included in an NTSB report about an April 24, 2018, accident in which an Amtrak watchman was killed in Bowie, Maryland, when he was struck from behind by a northbound Amtrak train while focused on the movement of a southbound MARC commuter train.

The report said the probable cause of the accident was “Amtrak’s insufficient site-specific safety work plan for the Bowie project that (1) did not consider the multiple main tracks in a high-noise environment and (2) did not provide the rail gang watchman with a safe place to stand,” leading to him standing on an active track.

NTSB noted in its report that PTC systems can automatically slow trains through work zones.

Short Lines Mark Safety Milestone

June 7, 2021

A short line holding company with properties in Pennsylvania said last week that it passed a safety milestone last week when its three operating railroad subsidiaries each achieved three years without a personal injury as defined by the Federal Railroad Administration.

Carload Express owns the Allegheny Valley Railroad, the Southwest Pennsylvania Railroad and the Delmarva Central Railroad.

Carload said its companies and their 100 employees operate 24 hours per day, seven days per week, serving about 100 customers on 331 route miles of track.

Each employee received a safety dividend in appreciation for their contribution.

Jake Safety Award Winners Named

June 4, 2021

The American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association said this week that 346 railroads will receive a Jake Safety Awards with 19 member railroads being recognized as President’s Safety Award winners.

In a news release, ASLRA said the awards recognize members for above-industry average safety performance during 2020.

An ASLRRA member must perform better than the industry average reportable injury frequency rate for railroads other than Class Is, commuter railroads and Amtrak based on data reported to the Federal Railroad Administration. Railroads must have completed all FRA-required employee-on-duty reporting for 2020.

That average industry reportable injury frequency rate for 2020 was 2.18 per 200,000 employee on-duty hours.

President’s Award winners posted the lowest reportable injury frequency rate per FRA regulations as measured within man-hour categories.

The Jake Awards are named for Lowell S. “Jake” Jacobson, the president and general manager of the Copper Basin Railway who pushed to establish the award program named in his honor.

Among the Jake award winners were the Buffalo & Pittsburgh, Evansville Western, Indiana & Ohio, Gary Railway, Indiana Rail Road, Kanawha River, Paducah & Louisville Terminal, and Union Railroad.

President’s award winners included the Columbus & Ohio River Railroad for 150,000 to 250,000 man hours worked, and Gary Railway Company for 250,000 to 500,000 man hours worked.

OLI Chapters Awarded Grant Funds

May 27, 2021

Operation Lifesaver in partnership with the Federal Railroad Administration and the Posner Foundation of Pittsburgh has awarded grants to chapters in Indiana, Pennsylvania and Ohio for grade crossing safety and trespassing prevention projects.

The grants in partnership with the FRA totaled $200,317 and were made to Operation Lifesaver programs in 12 states while the Posner Foundation grants totaled $245,317 in combined grant funds.

The FRA-funded grants will be awarded to OLI chapters in Alabama, California, Georgia, Indiana, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, South Carolina, South Dakota and Tennessee.

Most of the Posner Foundation grant money is being awarded in Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas and New Jersey.

All of the grants were awarded through a competitive process.

FRA Seeks Comments on Safety Rule

February 9, 2021

Public comments are being taken by the Federal Railroad Administration on a proposed rule pertaining to railroad risk management.

The rule, which was published Dec. 22 in the Federal Register, would require some railroads to develop and implement a fatigue-risk management program.

Railroads would determine their fatigue risk by identifying and analyzing applicable hazards and take action to mitigate or eliminate that risk.

The Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008 mandated the rule that the FRA has proposed.

Comments are due to the FRA by Feb. 22.

Collisions Were in Decline Before PTC Widely was Installed

January 19, 2021

The National Transportation Safety Board has for years lobbied for the implementation of positive train control as a way of reducing if not eliminating train collisions.

The agency last week celebrated the completion of PTC implementation on much of the nation’s railroad system.

All railroads that were required by federal law to have PTC had installed, tested and begun using a PTC system by the end of 2020.

However, an analysis by Trains magazine using Federal Railroad Administration data shows that even before PTC was switched on the railroad industry had made giant strides toward reducing collisions.

Collisions on railroad mainlines declined by 91 percent between 1975 and 2018. The analysis found the number of derailments attributed to a train exceeding the speed limit also declined during that period.

Data from the FRA’s Office of Safety show that in 1975 there were 244 mainline collisions, representing 41 percent of the 588 mainline collisions that occurred over the 45 years through 2020.

Mainline collisions had fallen to 100 in 1985 and 77 in 1995. There were 79 mainline collisions in 2005 but just 19 in 2015.

Preliminary data shows four mainline collisions occurred last year.

“With or without PTC, railroad operating practices have come a long way,” FRA Administrator Ronald Batory said.

 “The numbers speak for themselves. And now that we have PTC there’s further risk reduction.”

Batory said among the actions that railroads have taken in the past three decades that have made operations safer are reducing the use of train orders, improving locomotive engineer training and certification, instilling more disciplined operations, and adopting smaller crew sizes.

He expects the railroad industry to continue to become a safer place in coming years as carriers improve their PTC systems. That will include making PTC technology more comprehensive and robust.

Nonetheless, NTSB members who participated in a webcast last week told of how they have investigated numerous collisions over the years that could have been prevented by PTC.

NTSB member Jennifer Homendy said that included 154 accidents that led to 305 deaths and 6,883 injured railroad workers and passengers.

Former NTSB Chairman James Hall said it took a “tombstone mentality” to persuade Congress to adopt a law mandating PTC.

Many say the trigger event was a 2008 California collision between a Metrolink commuter train and a Union Pacific freight that left 25 dead.

PTC systems are now active on 58,000 route-miles, primarily those that handle passengers and hazardous materials.

The systems are designed to prevent train-to-train collisions, overspeed derailments, incursions into established work zones, and movements through switches left in the wrong position.

FRA Says All Railroads Reached PTC Finish Line

December 30, 2020

The Federal Railroad Administration said this week that all railroads required to do so have met the deadline for installation and implementation of positive train control.

PTC is in operation on all of the 57,536 route miles required to have it.

This includes rail lines that handle intercity or commuter passengers on a regular basis, certain hazardous materials, and Class 1 railroad mainlines that see more than 5 million gross tons of annual traffic.

The mandate for the installation of PTC was part of the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008.

Federal law gave the railroad industry a deadline of Dec. 31, 2020, to install and place PTC systems into operation.

In a news release, the FRA said this meant the FRA had certified not only that PTC was in operation but also that PTC systems had achieved interoperability.

This means a PTC system used by a tenant railroad such as Amtrak is compatible with the PTC system of a host railroad such as CSX.

PTC is designed to prevent train-to-train collisions, overspeed derailments, work-zone accidents, and incidents involving improperly lined switches.

Implementation of PTC involved seven Class I railroads, Amtrak, 28 commuter railroads, and five other freight railroads that host regularly scheduled intercity or commuter rail passenger service.

Also involved in the effort were industry associations, suppliers and other service providers who have been working for more than a decade to develop, install, test and oversee the operation of PTC systems.

FRA certification means a PTC system complies with the required technical requirements contained in federal law or FRA regulations.

Most railroads have been in compliance with federal law and regulations for several months with 99.6 percent of those affected by the PTC mandate having complied by the end of the third quarter of this year.

OLI Reached 2.5M in 2019

December 17, 2020

Operation Lifesaver said this week that during 2019 it reached 2.5 million people through training classes, presentations and events.

OLI said this was a 56 percent increase from the 1.6 million reached in 2018.

In 2019, OLI said it conducted more than 21,000 presentations, training classes and events, an increase of 5 percent over 2018.

The group’s 2019 annual report said it had revenue of $2.2 million, including $1.3 million from government grants and awards, $125,00 from foundation grants and $745,700 from contributions. OLI reported expenses of $2 million.