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FRA to require system safety programs on commuter and intercity passenger lines

August 17, 2016

Washington – Commuter and intercity passenger railroads will be required to develop and implement system safety programs as part of a final rule from the Federal Railroad Administration.

The rule, scheduled to go into effect Oct. 11, defines an SSP as “a structured program with proactive processes and procedures, developed and implemented by commuter and intercity passenger railroads to identify and mitigate or eliminate hazards and the resulting risks on each railroad’s system.”

Passenger railroads may customize SSPs based on how they operate, but FRA must review and approve each plan prior to implementation.

Procedures, processes and programs that align with an SSP’s goals include:

  • A maintenance, inspection and repair program
  • Rules compliance and procedures review
  • Employee and contractor training
  • A public safety outreach program

“The SSP rule is part of FRA’s efforts to continuously improve rail safety and to satisfy the statutory mandate in the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008,” the agency states in its announcement of the final rule in the Aug. 12 Federal Register.