FRA updates passenger train evacuation requirements

Washington – The Federal Railroad Administration issued a final rule Nov. 29 that requires new or improved safety features on passenger trains to help occupants evacuate in an emergency.

Among the safety features:

  • Removable panels and windows on doors separating passenger cars to allow escape if the doors become inoperable
  • Backup power sources for intercom systems that can keep them operable for at least 90 minutes when primary power fails
  • Emergency lighting system power sources to be located inside the passenger compartment to better withstand collisions or derailments 
  • Luminescent markings indicating the path to emergency exits

The final rule, which goes into effect Jan. 28, also clarified that debriefing and critique sessions required after an emergency should include any railroad personnel who had firsthand knowledge of the incident, such as on-board crew or personnel who were in the control center at the time.

Petitions for reconsideration on the final rule are due Jan. 28, with comments in response to the petitions due March 14.