Amtrak locomotiveThe Associated Press reports that the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has ordered Amtrak to retrain employees on basic safety rules after an Amtrak train slammed into a backhoe last week, killing two maintenance-of-way (MOW) employees and injuring dozens of passengers.
Loram Maintenance of Way spokesman Tom DeJoseph told reporters that the MOW workers on the tracks were unaware that one of the tracks was active and in service at the time of the accident.
Amtrak’s CEO Joe Boardman has stated that he will immediately comply with FRA’s directive.
Click here to read more from the Associated Press.

FRA_logo_wordsIn response to Congress’ mandate in the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (RSIA), the Federal Railroad Administration is proposing to expand the scope of its alcohol and drug regulations to cover employees who perform maintenance-of-way (MOW) activities.

In addition, FRA is proposing certain substantive amendments that either respond to National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recommendations or update and clarify the alcohol and drug regulations based on a retrospective regulatory review (RRR) analysis.

“This NPRM addresses the application of drug and alcohol testing for maintenance-of-way employees that are not now covered by those requirements. These maintenance-of-way employees will not be covered by hours of service, but will soon be covered by the same drug and alcohol testing protocols that hours of service employees are under,” SMART Transportation Division National Legislative Director James Stem said.

“These employees will be also tested at a higher rate for the first two years under this NPRM than the other covered service employees.”

Comments can be posted to the docket [Docket No. FRA–2009–0039] at and should be offered on or before Sept. 26, 2014.

To read the complete proposed rule, click here.