NTSB: Inadequate Response to Rough Track Conditions Led to Washington Derailment

October 30, 2006 Railfanning.org News Wire 0

WASHINGTON – The National Transportation Safety Board determined that the probable cause of an April 2005 Amtrak derailment was the BNSF Railway Company’s inadequate response to multiple reports of rough track conditions that were subsequently attributed to excessive concrete crosstie abrasion. Contributing to the accident was the Federal Railroad Administration’s failure to provide adequate track safety standards for concrete crossties. The abrasion allowed the outer rail to rotate outward and create a wide gage track condition. “This is a case where the railroad failed to respond appropriately to warnings of a track problem and where Federal requirements could have provided

NTSB: Train Crew’s Failure to Remain Attentive Led to 2005 Wreck

October 30, 2006 Railfanning.org News Wire 0

WASHINGTON – The National Transportation Safety Board has determined that the probable cause of the Oct. 15, 2005, collision of two Union Pacific trains in Texarkana, Ark., was the failure of a train crew to remain attentive and alert and thereby able to stop before striking an observable standing train in front of them. Contributing to the severity of the wreck was the puncture of a tank car during the collision, which resulted in the release of propylene, a compressed flammable gas. Also, the yardmaster did not immediately provide emergency responders with a consist which would have immediately identified the

NTSB Probes Pa. Derailment

October 21, 2006 Railfanning.org News Wire 0

NEW BRIGHTON, Pa. – National Transportation Safety Board investigators are at the scene of a Norfolk Southern freight train derailment near New Brighton, a city about 25 miles northwest of Pittsburgh. The derailment occurred about 10:40 p.m. yesterday. In the wreck, about two dozen of the train’s 83 tank cars carrying ethanol derailed and fell off a bridge. No one was injured in the crash, but about nine of the cars caught fire, according to published reports. About 50 people were displaced because of the derailment. “I actually felt the explosion at my house. It was like lightning struck in

New Regulations Require Railroads to Perform Better and More Frequent Inspections of Continuous Welded Rail Track Joints

October 21, 2006 Railfanning.org News Wire 0

WASHINGTON – Potentially serious train derailments may be averted as a result of a new federal regulation designed to improve how railroads conduct safety inspections of the joints that connect sections of track made of continuous welded rail (CWR), Federal Railroad Administrator Joseph H. Boardman announced. “More frequent and more detailed inspections will help identify problems early and prevent hazardous situations from developing,” Boardman said. Unlike conventional track that has short sections of rail bolted together, CWR consists of long ribbons of rail that may extend for a mile or more between joints. Inspections of CWR joints are expected to

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Issues Highway-Rail Grade Crossing Safety Guidance

October 21, 2006 Railfanning.org News Wire 0

WASHINGTON – The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) hopes to reduce the number of truck collisions at railroad crossings by distributing new safety tip cards to every truck driver. The cards are designed to help reduce the more than 700 truck and bus highway-rail grade crossing collisions that occur each year. “This new card will remind professional drivers of steps they can take to avoid needless tragedies,” said FMCSA Administrator John Hill. Nearly 250,000 of the cards, which were produced in collaboration with the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), will be initially distributed – including 150,000 cards that will be

FRA Issues Report on Blocked Highway-Rail Grade Crossings

October 21, 2006 Railfanning.org News Wire 0

WASHINGTON – The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has released a new report on community impacts when highway-rail grade crossings are blocked by standing or slow-moving freight trains. The study found that in addition to general motorist inconvenience or impediment of commercial activities, the most serious consequence of blocked crossings is when emergency response vehicles are hindered in trying to reach victims of medical emergencies. The report describes why crossings may be blocked by trains as well as a wide range of solutions currently used by communities and railroads to alleviate such bottlenecks. It also emphasizes the critical importance of railroads

STB to Examine Grain Transport

October 14, 2006 Railfanning.org News Wire 0

WASHINGTON – The Surface Transportation Board will hold a Nov. 2 hearing to discuss issues related to the transportation of grain by railroad. On Oct. 6, the United States Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report on rates, competition, and capacity issues in the American rail freight industry. According to the GAO preliminary report, the amount of grain traffic with comparatively high markups over variable cost increased notably between 1985 and 2004. Although GAO reported that changes that have occurred in the rail industry since the Staggers Rail Act of 1980 are widely viewed as positive – with a healthier

Romney Implements Bag Inspections On The MBTA

October 14, 2006 Railfanning.org News Wire 0

BOSTON – Gov. Mitt Romney earlier this month directed the MBTA to re-institute regular random bag inspections on the public transit system in order to shake up normal routines and make it more difficult to plan and carry out a potential terrorist act. The MBTA conducted random bag searches for a limited time before and during the Democratic National Convention in 2004. “Terrorism is not a traditional criminal activity,” Romney said. “We are fighting a war against people who have as their objective the overthrow of the United States government. Given that kind of threat, we have to adjust our

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