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Tuesday, June 11, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

RR Agency Changing Risk Level in E-Control Regs

WASHINGTON (CN) - The Federal Railroad Administration has proposed amendments to regulations implementing electronic train control systems for certain trains, such as for those carrying poison.

"Partially as a consequence of certain very severe railroad accidents, coupled with a series of other less serious accidents," Congress passed the 2008 Rail Safety Improvement Act, which requires certain passenger and freight railroads to install electronic train control systems, called positive train control (PTC) systems, by the end of 2015.

The proposed amendments would extend the de minimis exception to the installation of PTC systems generally, and more specifically, its application to yard-related movements. A de minimus exception relates to the amount of risk considered inconsequential under the rules, such as, whether a train without electronic train control may travel over tracks where train control is installed.

The number of freight cars carrying poison-by-inhalation (PIH) materials would be changed from 100 cars to 200 cars and the grade limitation would be raised to "heavy grade," under the rule.

The proposal also would revise the existing regulations regarding en route failures of a PTC system and discontinuances of signal systems once a PTC system is installed and make additional technical amendments to regulations for grade crossing warning systems and signal systems, including PTC systems.

The FRA has determined the cost of the changes is worth the savings it will provide.

The FRA will accept written comments until Feb. 11, 2013.

To learn more, click the document icon for this regulation and others.

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