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10/14/2003



Rail News: Labor

UTU to assist FRA in auditing locomotive remote-control safety


Federal Railroad Administration recently asked the United Transportation Union to help the agency monitor locomotive remote-control (LRC) safety, according to a news item on UTU's Web site.

FRA developed a one-page reporting form workers can use to inform the agency and its safety inspectors of suspected LRC safety problems. FRA will provide the forms to UTU local officers and general chairpersons in yards using remote controls.

In February 2001, FRA issued recommended guidelines for remote-control operations. But last month, the Senate Commerce Committee directed FRA to audit railroads' LRC use and potential effects of further remote-control implementation. Some communities have passed resolutions banning LRC operations, and a thorough safety audit could resolve those concerns, committee members believe.

In the audit, FRA must compare accident, injury and fatality rates involving remote controls with similar manned-locomotive operations; assess LRCs' effects on the safety of grade crossings, hazardous-materials transportation and locomotives operated in urban areas; and determine the technology's safety benefits.

FRA must submit the audit to the committee within 18 months.




Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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