U.S. Senators push for two-person crews on freight trains

Written by Bill Wilson, Editor-in-Chief
rail bridge
Federal lawmakers continue to try and secure funding for the aging Portal Bridge, which carries over 800,000 rail passengers daily.

Senators Edward Markey (D-Mass.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) introduced the Safe Freight Act on June 26. The legislation would promote rail safety by mandating at least two-person crews on all freight trains in the U.S. The bill is designed to correct the Federal Railroad Administration’s recent rollback of a proposed rule that would have established these necessary safety standards.

The Safe Freight Act will specifically require that all freight trains have at least one certified conductor and one certified engineer on board, who can then work together to protect the safety of both the train and people living near the tracks.

“The FRA abdicated its responsibility as our nation’s rail safety agency when it withdrew the proposed two-person crew rule,” said Senator Markey. “A series of tragic accidents have resulted in recent years from unattended and understaffed trains, making clear that we need enough crew on board to protect both property and the public. I am proud to lead the introduction of the Safe Freight Act with Senator Wyden to address this critical safety concern.”

“The decision by the FRA to abandon its planned two-person crew rule makes no sense, especially in light of recent rail accidents,” said Senator Wyden. “This is a matter of safety and security for rail crew and the public, and experts agree. It’s now up to Congress to step in and require freight trains have the staffing required to keep folks safe.”

A copy of the Safe Freight Act can be found HERE.

Other Senators co-sponsoring the Safe Freight Act are Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Angus King (I-Maine), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.).

“The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen has led the fight for railroad safety for over 156 years,” said BLET National President Dennis R. Pierce. “Two-person crews make for safer, more efficient train operations, and two-person crews play a key role in safeguarding our nation’s communities when a serious accident occurs. I congratulate Senator Markey for stepping up to lead the fight for a safer railroad industry and a safer America.”

 

Categories: Class 1, Freight
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