ABC News.com reported that following last week’s deadly New Jersey Transit crash in Hoboken that killed a woman standing on the platform and injured more than 100 commuters, NJT announced a new mandate that requires the presence of both the engineer and a conductor during the final phase of the commute, when the trains are pulling into NJT’s Hoboken or Atlantic City stations.  Read the complete article here.
Contact your elected officials in support of two-person crew legislation, through the SMART TD Legislative Action Center.
 
 

Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) began the task of gathering evidence to determine the cause of yesterday morning’s deadly New Jersey Transit crash that injured 114 and killed a woman who was standing on the platform at the busy hub in Hoboken, New Jersey. According to a CNN report, NTSB officials have retrieved the train’s event recorder and will soon interview engineer Thomas Gallagher, who was treated and released from the hospital yesterday. The sharp increase in railway accidents underscores the need to hasten implementation of  Positive Train Control (PTC) systems and mandated two-person crews on all trains.  Read the latest article from CNN, here. 
Photo courtesy of CNN.com.

The New York Times reported that a New Jersey Transit train has crashed into a major Hoboken, NJ transit hub during rush hour.  A transportation official confirmed that one person has died and many others have been injured. Urban Search and Rescue squads are at the site.  No details yet on exact numbers of deaths or injured, or the cause of the crash.   Read the story here.
 
 
 
 
 

Add this occurrence to thousands just like it – examples of why two crew members are absolutely necessary to safely operate a locomotive.  In a recent news story from NBC Montana, both crew members worked to disengage cargo cars, effectively stopping the fire from spreading and averting a potential disaster. No injuries were reported. Read the complete story here.

On Friday, July 15, John Risch, National Legislative Director with SMART TD, testified before the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) in Washington, DC, in strong support of a minimum two-person crew mandate for freight and passenger trains. It may take months for the FRA board to make a final decision. Read his complete testimony here.  Front page photo: Risch at FRA hearing.
 
 
Risch testimony_FRA_7_18_16
 
 

 Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) testified in today in hearings before the FRA, in support of a two-person crew rule for all freight trains. Seated directly behind the Senator is John Risch, SMART TD Legislative Director. Risch, SMART TD Member Mike Rankin, and TTD President Ed Wytkind also provided testimony in favor of the rule.IMG_2476.JPG

Amarillo.com reported that BNSF freight trains collided head-on this morning in the town of Panhandle, Texas, near Amarillo, creating a massive fireball and explosion that prompted a swift evacuation of Panhandle residents. Injuries and missing persons have been reported; at this time, no details have surfaced regarding those missing, or the number or severity of injuries. Read the complete story here.
Photo courtesy of Kayla Burks for Amarillo.com.FullSizeRender-2_0

Amarillo.com reported that BNSF freight trains collided head-on this morning in the town of Panhandle, Texas, near Amarillo, creating a massive fireball and explosion that prompted a swift  evacuation of Panhandle residents. Injuries and missing persons have been reported; at this time, no details have surfaced regarding those missing, or the number or severity of injuries.  Read the complete story here.  texas train collision Photo courtesy of ABC News.  

Enforcement push is part of broader effort to increase overall rail safety

FRA_logo_wordsWASHINGTON – The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) today announced that its stepped-up enforcement of railroad safety regulations led to the highest-ever civil penalty collection rate in the agency’s 50-year history. 

For Fiscal Year (FY) 2015, the agency will collect 75 percent of all civil penalties it issued to railroads for violating federal safety regulations – a six percent increase over FY2014, and the largest percentage rate ever collected by the agency. The total amount of civil penalties in FY2015, $15 million, increased by 12 percent compared to the previous year.

“Safety must be the number one priority for every railroad, and the Department of Transportation will continue to take aggressive action against railroads who fail to follow safety rules,” said U.S Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “A strong safety enforcement program is critical to prevent accidents, save lives and move our country forward.”

FRA’s collection rate is the highest in the agency’s history and significantly higher than previous years.

Year Collection Rate 
 FY 2015 75%
FY 201469%
FY 201368%
FY 201269%
FY 201168%
FY 201068%
FY 200967%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last year, more than 6,485 railroad company violations resulted in civil penalties. The largest portion of those violations, 29 percent, was for motive power and equipment violations, followed by 26 percent for track violations.

 FRA Safety Discipline  Violations Resulting in a Civil Penalty  Percentage 
 Hazmat 1,32720%
 MP&E 1,86929%
 OP1,18418%
 Signal & Train Control 4167%
 Track1,68926%
 TOTAL6,485 

 

“Setting a record for collections is an important milestone, but it is just one element of FRA’s broader effort to achieve a safer rail system,” said FRA Administrator Sarah E. Feinberg. “As we continue to aggressively enforce safety regulations, FRA will also continue to implement new, innovative solutions to increase safety.”

The stepped-up enforcement of safety regulations is part of the Federal Railroad Administration’s larger, comprehensive effort to increase safety of the nation’s rail system. Administrator Feinberg has also prioritized railroad crossing safety, improving the safety of hazmat and crude transport, increasing transparency and working more closely with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).

To read the full report, visit: https://www.fra.dot.gov/eLib/details/L17311#p1_z5_gD