HARRISBURG, Pa. – The Pennsylvania House of Representatives passed a new rail safety regulation bill on Monday, the rationale for which appears to be Norfolk Southern's derailment in East Palestine, Ohio in February.
With several rail safety bills swirling around the U.S. Congress, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported the state House of Representatives in Pennsylvania has developed its own version that would apply to every freight train rolling through the Keystone state.
The House voted 141-62 to pass the bill, which is now headed to the state Senate for its review.
Rep. Robert Matzie, (D–Beaver) is the bill’s primary sponsor, and said that “Extraordinary events bring extraordinary action. How many East Palestines should we accept?”
This bill contains a range of requirements, including one aimed at preventing stopped or slow trains from blocking rail-highway grade crossings for more than five minutes if the crossing is on emergency vehicle routes. The bill also prohibits trains longer than 8,500 ft., and requires two-person crews for all Class I railroad freight trains.
Mr. Matzie pointed out that there have been 15 derailments in the U.S. during the last month and that his state cannot afford to sit around and wait for federal agencies to implement rules and requirements that will address the problem.