Development of New Federal Design Standards for Hazardous Materials Tank Cars to Benefit from Public-Private Partnership

January 18, 2007 Railfanning.org News Wire 0

WASHINGTON — In a move designed to aid in the development of new federal design standards for stronger and safer hazardous materials tank cars, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) is joining forces with rail and chemical industry leaders to create the tank car of the future, FRA Administrator Joseph H. Boardman announced. “Our goal is to jump beyond incremental design changes,” Boardman said. “We and our partners are looking to apply the latest research and advanced technology to provide increased safety for rail shipments posing the greatest safety risk.” Boardman also said the FRA is considering issuing new, more robust

Rosenker: Excited About Positive Train Control

January 11, 2007 Railfanning.org News Wire 0

WASHINGTON – National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Mark Rosenker says he welcomes the Federal Railroad Administration’s decision to move forward on a Positive Train Control (PTC) system that can alert crews to dangerous situations and control train speed and movement to avoid collisions. The system will be installed by the Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) railroad on 35 specific freight lines in 17 states. “This is exciting news,” Rosenker said. “The Safety Board has been pushing for the installation of PTC for many years, and I congratulate both the FRA and BNSF for moving ahead. I am confident it will

FRA: New Era of Rail Safety with Approval of First Positive Train Control System

January 9, 2007 Railfanning.org News Wire 0

WASHINGTON – The first Positive Train Control (PTC) system capable of automatically controlling train speed and movements to prevent certain accidents, including train collisions has been approved. “This is a major achievement that marks the beginning of a new era of rail safety,” said Federal Railroad Administrator Joseph H. Boardman. “The steps FRA and railroads are taking show that applying PTC technology can work and will provide important safety benefits.” In 2005, FRA revised federal signal and train control regulations to facilitate and enable development and deployment of PTC technology, Boardman said. Specifically, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) approved the

Appeals Court Upholds STB’s DM&E Decision

December 29, 2006 Railfanning.org News Wire 0

WASHINGTON – The Surface Transportation Board’s decision granting final approval to Dakota, Minnesota & Eastern Railroad (DM&E) to construct a 280-mile rail line into Wyoming’s Powder River Basin was affirmed by the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. The Dakota, Minnesota and Eastern Railroad (DM&E) is seeking the largest federal loan to a private company in American history — a $2.3 billion in tax money from to finance a major rail expansion project through the Midwest. The loan guarantee from the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) would allow the DM&E to expand and improve a rail line that

DOT Wants Railroads to Route Hazardous Materials Based on Range of Safety, Security Factors

December 19, 2006 Railfanning.org News Wire 0

WASHINGTON – Railroad companies would be required to perform a safety and security risk analysis to determine the most appropriate route for shipping hazardous materials as part of a new proposal by the U.S. Secretary of Transportation. U.S. Secretary of Transportation Mary E. Peters said the notice of proposed rulemaking, issued by the Department of Transportation’s Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), would make shipments of certain high-risk hazardous materials, including explosives, radioactive substances and toxic-inhalation risk materials, more safe and secure by adding to and strengthening existing federal regulations. “These materials are fueling

FRA, New Jersey Transit Begin Study of Portal Bridge

December 15, 2006 Railfanning.org News Wire 0

WASHINGTON – Public comments are being sought for a project to replace, repair, or retain a 96-year-old railroad bridge on the heavily congested Northeast Corridor connecting the Newark, N.J., and New York. The Federal Railroad Administration and New Jersey Transit will jointly prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS), in cooperation with Amtrak, to study improvements to enhance capacity and operation of the Amtrak-owned Portal Bridge that spans the Hackensack River. Originally constructed in 1910, the bridge is nearing the end of its projected lifespan, officials say. “Because of the bridge’s critical role in the successful operation of the Northeast Corridor,

FRA Proposes Higher Fines for Violations of Federal Rail Safety Regulations

December 7, 2006 Railfanning.org News Wire 0

WASHINGTON – The civil penalty guideline amounts assessed against railroads for violating numerous federal rail safety regulations would be substantially increased under a proposal announced by Federal Railroad Administrator Joseph H. Boardman. “Higher fines across all categories of federal regulations will encourage railroads to focus on safety compliance and improve the rail industry’s overall performance,” Boardman stated, noting that the proposed statements of agency policy would double the current guideline civil penalty amounts for most violations. Boardman explained that FRA evaluated each of the more than 2,000 provisions of the federal rail safety regulations using a five-point severity scale. The

Citizens Against Government Waste Names Sen. John Thune Porker of the Month

November 23, 2006 Railfanning.org News Wire 0

WASHINGTON — Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) has named Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., the Porker of the Month for helping a railroad company secure a record $2.3 billion federal loan guarantee. The Dakota, Minnesota and Eastern Railroad (DM&E) is seeking the largest federal loan to a private company in American history — a $2.3 billion in tax money from to finance a major rail expansion project through the Midwest. The loan guarantee from the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) would allow the DM&E to expand and improve a rail line that is used primarily to transport coal from Wyoming to Minnesota.

Iowa Northern Railway Receives $25.5 million RRIF Loan

November 23, 2006 Railfanning.org News Wire 0

WASHINGTON — The Iowa Northern Railway (IANR), a short line freight carrier located in northeastern Iowa, is receiving a $25.5 million loan from the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA). The funds will be used to: upgrade mainline track from Linn to Waterloo and from Cedar Falls to Manly; construct new sidings at Palo, Shell Rock, and Nora Springs; and rehabilitate rail yards in Waterloo and Manly. These improvements will allow the railroad to accommodate heavier railcars and move freight more quickly, safely, and efficiently, according to the FRA. Agricultural products account for most of the cargo carried by the IANR, but

FRA: Working Conditions for Train Crews to Improve with New Federal Regulations to Help Prevent Hearing Loss

November 12, 2006 Railfanning.org News Wire 0

WASHINGTON – Train crews will be less likely to suffer problems with hearing loss as the result of revised federal standards aimed to enhance the safety and well being of railroad employees by limiting locomotive cab noise, announced Federal Railroad Administrator Joseph H. Boardman. “Locomotive engineers, conductors, and other rail employees shouldn’t have to run the risk of hearing loss just for doing their jobs,” said Boardman, noting that the final rule on Occupational Noise Exposure for Railroad Operating Employees was published in the Federal Register. “Reducing noise will safeguard train crews and can help improve overall rail safety.” Boardman

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