Monday, April 27, 2015

Railroad unions urge tougher safety standards on tracks, speed

Railroad union urges tougher safety standards on tracks

Railroad union urges tougher safety standards on tracks

AP  4/26/15

PHILADELPHIA -- Union officials say tougher inspection and maintenance standards for railroad tracks could help prevent dangerous derailments of trains carrying crude oil.
While lawmakers and regulators focus on the strength of oil tank cars and volatility of crude oil, officials of the rail inspectors' union say track flaws and train speed can be significant factors in accidents.

The focus should be on preventing derailments, said Rick Inclima, safety director of the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees.

"Let's see what we can do to keep the damn trains on the track," said Inclima, a member of the Railroad Safety Advisory Committee of the Federal Railroad Administration. "When they come off the tracks, bad things happen."....
....Data from the railroad administration indicates that 39 percent of the 1,220 train derailments last year were caused by track flaws.

Railroad companies determine the state of track inspection and maintenance, and are allowed to run trains at higher speeds by making inspection and maintenance standards more stringent. Trains are barred from traveling faster than 10 mph on Class 1 track, which requires infrequent inspections and allows more flaws such as defective ties and imperfectly aligned rails. On Class 5 track, with stricter maintenance and inspection requirements, freight trains can travel up to 80 mph.

Freddie Simpson, president of the Maintenance of Way Brotherhood, which represents about 35,000 workers who inspect and maintain railroads, said higher safety standards are key to reducing track-caused derailments. The union wants tracks used by oil trains maintained one track class higher without an increase in speed, or train speeds reduced to that of the next lowest class, and also wants faster repairs of defects with lower speeds until they are done.....   ... more here

Canadian Government's Directive for Oil Trains to Slow Down

by Zacks Equity Research  

In a bid to promote rail safety, the Canadian government has issued an emergency directive to railroad operators. The government has directed the concerned companies to ensure that their trains which carry dangerous goods like crude oil and ethanol slow down in urban areas.

The directive, which is operative til Aug 17, 2015, requires the trains not to operate at speeds more than 40 miles/hour (64 kms) in highly urbanized places as opposed to the previous regulation which allowed such trains to travel at speeds of up to 80 km/hour.

The directive from the Canadian government has been necessitated by a series of derailments of oil trains. The government, in order to boost the safety of the Canadian Railway system, has called for more frequent inspections and assessments of risks pertaining to key routes that are frequented for transporting dangerous goods....   more here

Unions Push for Tougher Safety Standards for Trains


ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- Railroad union leaders are calling on congress to enact tougher safety standards to prevent deadly train derailments.

Last week BNSF Railway met with first responders in Galena, nearly two months after a fiery derailment. Congresswoman Cheri Bustos was also there to learn more about how the derailment was handled and what could have been done better.....    more here


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