FRA amendments aim to ease positive train control requirements

Washington – New amendments to Federal Railroad Administration positive train control system regulations intend to reduce requirements for railroads while maintaining safety.

Published in the Aug. 24 Federal Register, the notice of proposed rulemaking would allow railroads to avoid conducting an analysis when they opt to reroute poison inhalation hazard materials off intercity or commuter rail lines and not install PTC.

PTC systems control train movements and improve railroad safety by reducing the probability of collisions, damaged equipment and speeding incidents, according to the Department of Transportation. By allowing railroads to forgo PTC in situations that have less accident exposure, railroads will save an estimated $1 billion over the next 20 years, DOT said in a press release.

Currently, railroads wishing to reroute poison inhalation hazard materials off a passenger line must seek FRA approval and conduct a “complex” set of analyses, according to DOT. The amendments would not change current requirements that state railroads must install PTC on lines providing passenger rail service.

Comments on the NPRM are due Oct. 24.

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