The recently reported that the rail industry is lobbying hard to stall or potentially reverse the FRA’s ruling that freight trains be equipped with ECP (electronically controlled pneumatic) brakes by 2021. Despite the growing number of rail crashes and fatalities involving freight cars transporting flammable liquid, and the growing consensus that ECP is vital to freight rail safety, rail lobbyists are angling for support from the Trump administration to roll back this and other safety mandates.
John Risch, SMART TD Legislative Director, who was interviewed for this article, described ECP brakes as “the foundation of safety in the future of the rail industry….ECP brakes can save the day.” Read the complete article here. 
SMART TD Legislative Action Center: Contact your elected representative to voice your support of lifesaving ECP brake systems on all trains by clicking here.


The U.S. Senate yesterday passed a short-term surface transportation funding extension that includes a long-term extension of the positive train control (PTC) implementation deadline. The Senate’s action followed the House’s approval of the bill on Tuesday, and President Obama is expected to sign it.

The legislation reauthorizes funding of transportation programs through Nov. 20, and pushes back the Dec. 31 deadline for railroads to install PTC safety technology to Dec. 31, 2018, and as late as 2020 under certain circumstances.

The deadline extension will ward off a nationwide shutdown of railroad services, which industry leaders said would occur after Jan. 1, 2016, if the deadline wasn’t postponed. Most railroads would have missed the Dec. 31 deadline, and many indicated they wouldn’t operate in violation of federal law.

Read more from Progressive Railroading about PTC extension and Sarah Feinberg’s confirmation as administrator to the FRA.