Rail Brake Safety and Track Standards Still in Question

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Source: Yahoo! Finance post

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Federal rules revising how rail industry stakeholders should monitor and ensure healthy track infrastructure could be unveiled sometime soon.

The rules on rail integrity amendments and track standards, FRA-2018-0104, are in the clearance process at the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), but there’s no firm date yet for their issuance and publication in the Federal Register, according to sources.

Freight railroads, rail shippers, and rail union members have been awaiting the revised rules since the agency first said in December 2019 that it would be revising two existing rules, one on track safety standards and the other on brake system safety requirements. Changes to both rules would “promote safety innovation and reduce unnecessary regulatory burdens” while also increasing rail safety and time, FRA said in December.

Related post:
FRA Proposes Rules Updating Brake Standards

Stakeholders such as American Fuels and Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) welcomed FRA’s attention on the two rules since they focus on preventative measures.

“We’re happy FRA is taking action and we’re hoping they move forward with a final rule,” said Rob Benedict, senior director of petrochemicals, transportation, and infrastructure at AFPM. AFPM, along with a coalition of rail shippers that included American Chemistry Council, American Petroleum Institute, Chlorine Institute, Fertilizer Institute, Renewable Fuels Association, and Sulphur Institute, submitted comments to FRA in March during FRA’s public comment period for the rules.

The revisions to the track integrity rule addressed issues such as continuous rail testing, rail inspection data, the inspection of track used by high-density commuter lines, waivers related to track frogs, and other provisions recommended by the track safety standards working group of FRA’s Railway Safety Advisory Committee.

Revisions related to the brake standards include issues related to Class I air brake testing and end-of-train device waivers.

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