FRA Launches Two New Automated Inspection Vehicles to Detect Track Flaws; 100,000 Miles of Track to be Federally Inspected Each Year

WASHINGTON — Two new custom-built inspection vehicles equipped with state of the art technology to help identify track flaws that could lead to train derailments are now in service and will allow the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) to triple the amount of track it inspects each year by automated means to nearly 100,000 miles, announced FRA Administrator Joseph H. Boardman. “Finding track problems and getting them fixed before a train accident occurs is key to safeguarding communities,” Boardman said. Boardman explained that the new automated track inspection vehicles increase the FRA’s fleet to five and are primarily used on high-volume

Norfolk Southern’s Harrisburg Division Sets Standard for Rail Worker Safety

HARRISBURG, Pa. — With the statistics tabulated and verified, Norfolk Southern announced that its Harrisburg Division was the safest operating division on the railroad’s 22-state network for 2006, with an injury ratio of .56. The Harrisburg Division’s Transportation Department recorded the lowest operating department injury ratio in the history of Norfolk Southern, with a ratio of .31. The corporate goal for 2006 was a .89 injury ratio, which also was bettered by the Harrisburg Division’s Maintenance of Way and Structures Department, and Communications and Signals Department. Rail industry injury ratios are based on Federal Railroad Administration reportable incidents per 200,000

Train Accidents Decline for Second Year in a Row Preliminary 2006 Safety Data Show

WASHINGTON – The number of train accidents declined for the second year in a row and there were fewer highway-rail grade crossing collisions according to preliminary 2006 rail safety data announced today by U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Mary E. Peters. “The aggressive actions we are taking to improve rail safety are paying dividends,” Secretary Peters said. “As a result, many communities where trains operate are safer,” she added, noting that 36 states experienced fewer train accidents in 2006 as compared to 2005. The preliminary statistics released today by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) reveal that in 2006 railroads had

Federal Government Will Regulate Railroad Hours of Service and Increase Focus on Safety Risk Reduction, Under the Administration’s Proposed Rail Safety Legislation

February 14, 2007 Railfanning.org News Wire 0

WASHINGTON — For the first time ever the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) will have authority to regulate railroad worker hours of service and will provide greater focus on risk reduction to improve safety in the railroad industry under a rail safety reauthorization bill submitted to the Congress today, FRA Administrator Joseph H. Boardman announced. “We must embrace new methods and strategies to further reduce the number of accidents in the rail industry,” Boardman said. “Railroads must be more accountable for the safety of their operations and rail employees need work schedules that reduce fatigue and promote safety,” he added, noting

Rail Employees at Nation’s Largest Rail Yard to Confidentially Report ‘Close Calls’ Under New Federal Rail Safety Pilot Project

February 2, 2007 Railfanning.org News Wire 0

NORTH PLATTE, Neb. — Employees at the nation’s largest rail yard can now voluntarily and anonymously report “close call” incidents that could have resulted in an accident, but did not, without fear of sanction or penalty from their employer or the federal government as part of a new rail safety pilot project. “Having the opportunity to learn about and analyze these ‘close-calls,’ will help us identify and correct problems across the industry,” Federal Railroad Administrator Joseph H. Boardman said, noting that the aviation industry already has a similar program. FRA currently requires railroads to report a wide range of accidents

FRA Issues Safety Advisory on Maintenance Equipment

January 26, 2007 Railfanning.org News Wire 0

WASHINGTON — In response to a deadly derailment in November, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) today issued a safety advisory to railroad industry owners and operators urging them to ensure specialized maintenance equipment is only operated by fully qualified individuals and is properly inspected. “I cannot emphasize enough the responsibility and necessity of railroads and contractors that use these vehicles to operate them in the safest manner possible,” said FRA Administrator Joseph H. Boardman. “We have zero tolerance for careless mistakes that needlessly cause harm or injury to workers, contractors or the public at large.” The Safety Advisory is being

FRA Issues Safety Advisory for Rail Yard Safety

January 19, 2007 Railfanning.org News Wire 0

WASHINGTON — As a result of a fatal Dec. 14 rail yard switching accident in Manlius, N.Y., the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has issued a Safety Advisory recommending that railroads assess their existing rules addressing safety at yard grade crossings. The agency also urges railroads to review, or as necessary, amend their rules governing yard movements to clarify what actions employees must take under various circumstances to fully adhere to operating procedures. In the December accident, a worker backing a pickup truck over a yard grade crossing was struck by rail cars being moved by a remote control locomotive. The

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

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

37 States Experience Fewer Train Accidents During First Six Months of 2006

September 25, 2006 Railfanning.org News Wire 0

WASHINGTON – Thirty-seven states experienced fewer train derailments and collisions during the first half of 2006 as compared to the same period last year Federal Railroad Administrator Joseph H. Boardman announced earlier this month. Boardman also said that railroads were doing a better job focusing on safety performance. A review of the preliminary statistics compiled by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) for January through June 2006 reveals that railroads had 262 fewer train accidents, or a 16.1 percent reduction, when compared to the first half of 2005, Boardman said. Specifically, the number of derailments decreased by 13.6 percent and train-to-train

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