FRA issues emergency order on unattended hazmat trains

Washington – The Federal Railroad Administration issued an emergency order Aug. 2 aimed at preventing unintentional movement of unattended trains carrying hazardous materials.

The emergency order states that U.S. trains or other vehicles transporting certain hazardous materials must be attended to at all times outside a yard or terminal, unless FRA has approved a railroad’s securement plan justifying why a train can be left unattended. It also specifies that trains must be inspected by a qualified railroad employee who communicates with the workers who secure the train. Railroads must comply with the order by Sept. 1.

The order was issued in response to a July 6 train derailment in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, that resulted in at least 42 fatalities and left five people missing, according to an FRA safety advisory. The incident occurred after an unattended train carrying hazardous materials rolled into the town and derailed, causing explosions and fires.