Rail Legislation

Bill would require two-person freight train crews

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Rep. Don Young

Cleveland – At least two crew members would be required on every freight train, under recently proposed legislation from Rep. Don Young (R-AK).

The Safe Freight Act (H.R. 1763) was introduced on April 13 and referred to the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. If approved, the legislation would require one crew member to be certified as a locomotive operator by the Federal Rail Administration and the other crew member to be certified as a train conductor.

Such a move would bolster safety and reduce risks posed by one-person train crews, advocates say. In 2013, 47 people were killed when a train operated by a single crew member was left unattended overnight and later derailed and exploded into flames in Lac-Megantic, Quebec.

The legislation drew praise from the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen, as well as the Transportation Division of the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers.

“The BLET continues to oppose and condemn single-person freight operations as adverse to worker and public safety,” BLET National President Dennis R. Pierce said in a press release.