Rail Legislation

California to require two-person train crews

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Sacramento, CA – A new law in California will require at least two operators on every freight train traveling through the state.

California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) made the rule official Sept. 8 when he signed S.B. 730. The bill, which was introduced by state Sen. Lois Wolk (D), is scheduled to go into effect Feb. 1, 2016.

Violators will be subject to a fine of up to $1,000 for a first violation, up to $5,000 for a second violation within a three-year period, and up to $10,000 for the third violation and every subsequent violation within a three-year period.

Across the country, rail safety advocates have pushed for laws requiring multiple-person train crews. Rep. Don Young (R-AK) introduced the Safe Freight Act (H.R. 1763) in Congress in April, but the bill stalled in the Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials.

Wolk said one operator is not enough for trains carrying hazardous materials.

“With over 6,000 miles of railroad track that crisscrosses the state through wilderness and urban areas, the potential for derailment or other accidents containing these materials is an ever-present danger,” Wolk said in a press release after she introduced the bill.