FRA plans to propose two-person-minimum crew size for trains

Washington – The Federal Railroad Administration announced April 9 that it intends to propose a rule that would require a minimum of two crewmembers for most train operations.

Current FRA regulations do not require a minimum number of crewmembers for passenger, freight or hazardous materials operations.

FRA’s Railroad Safety Advisory Committee working group on train crew size stated in a March 6 presentation that multi-person crews reduce the risk of incidents caused by human error.

Approximately 4-6 percent of rail operations use single-person crews, and this practice is expected to increase based on industry demand, according to the working group.

Rail operations likely would be able to apply to receive appropriate exemptions to the two-person crew minimum – for example, if a rail operation could prove that onboard technology replaces the need for a second crewmember, the working group stated.