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

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

Proposed Upgrade of Emergency Systems to Improve Safety of Passenger Rail Cars

October 7, 2006 Railfanning.org News Wire 0

WASHINGTON – Passenger and commuter rail cars will be required to have more emergency safety features, including additional window exits, under proposed regulations announced by Federal Railroad Administrator Joseph H. Boardman. “Every American who travels by train deserves the highest level of safety possible,” Boardman said. “Serious passenger rail accidents are rare, but being better prepared to handle them provides an important level of safety,” he added noting that the proposed changes will affect both existing and newly manufactured passenger rail cars. Under the proposed rule, passenger rail cars will be required to have additional emergency window exits and rescue

FRA to Revise Rail Safety Rules to Support Deployment of Improved Train Braking Technology

August 17, 2006 Railfanning.org News Wire 0

WASHINGTON – Calling it the most significant development in railroad brake technology since the 1870s, Federal Railroad Administrator Joseph H. Boardman announced his intention to propose revised federal rail safety regulations to facilitate the installation of Electronically Controlled Pneumatic (ECP) brake systems capable of preventing derailments and shortening train-stopping distances. “ECP brakes are to trains what anti-lock brakes are to automobiles—they provide better control,” Boardman said. “It offers a quantum improvement in rail safety,” he added. ECP brakes are applied uniformly and virtually instantaneously on every rail car throughout the train, rather than sequentially from one rail car to the

FRA Grant Supports Continued Development of Positive Train Control Technology

August 5, 2006 Railfanning.org News Wire 0

WASHINGTON – The Federal Railroad Administration has given a $679,000 grant to the D.C.-based Railroad Research Foundation. The grant means an advanced train control system that can prevent train collisions, reduce the probability of speed-related derailments and protect on-track railroad workers is one step closer to being, the FRA said. The technology being developed will allow passenger trains to safely operate at 110 mph between Chicago and St. Louis in the same rail corridor as slower freight trains. The funding supports the ongoing activities of the North American Joint Positive Train Control Project, a collaborative effort between the FRA, the

FRA Starts ‘National Discussion’ on Improving Safety at Private Highway-Rail Grade Crossings

WASHINGTON — The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) will hold a series of public meetings across the country beginning in August to start a national discussion on the challenging issue of improving safety at the nation’s largely unregulated private highway-rail grade crossings, FRA Administrator Joseph H. Boardman announced. "The lack of a common safety approach at private crossings unnecessarily puts certain motorists at risk," Boardman said. "We need to learn all we can about private crossings in order to consider possible methods of reducing collisions and fatalities in the future." Establishing responsibility for safety at private crossings is one of the

FRA Promotes Highway-Rail Grade Croessing Safety and Prevention with Grant to Operation Lifesaver

WASHINGTON — Preventing and reducing collisions, fatalities and injuries arising from highway-rail grade crossing and railroad trespass incidents is the goal of a $1.03 million Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) grant to Operation Lifesaver, Inc. (OLI), a not-for-profit railroad safety education organization. Trespassing and highway-rail grade crossing deaths comprise approximately 95 percent of all rail-related fatalities in the United States each year. The grant funding will be used for public education and awareness programs in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. As part of the grant agreement, OLI is required to receive 25 percent matching in-kind contributions from non-government

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