Rail Legislation

Senate bill aims to improve rail safety

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Hartford, CT – Two U.S. senators have unveiled wide-ranging legislation aimed at improving rail safety after a series of high-profile incidents in recent years.

Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Charles Schumer (D-NY) on Sept. 7 announced plans to introduce a bill intended to strengthen safety policies in the wake of 2013 Metro-North Railroad incidents near the Bronx in New York City and near Bridgeport, CT.

The bill will call for a number of improvements, including:

  • Bolstering federal oversight by increasing funding for the Federal Railroad Administration’s safety and operations work
  • Increasing civil penalties for railroad operators that neglect safety
  • Requiring enhanced inspection practices by commuter railroads
  • Increasing enforcement of speed restrictions
  • Providing resources for passenger and commuter railroads in their efforts to implement technologies such as Positive Train Control
  • Requiring safer operating procedures for transportation of crude oil and flammable liquids

Many of the items listed in the bill will follow recommendations found in FRA’s Operation Deep Dive report that assessed Metro-North’s safety policies, the senators said in a press release.