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Rail News: Federal Legislation & Regulation

Heitkamp introduces two-person crew legislation

U.S. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.)
Photo – Wikipedia

U.S. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) has introduced a bill to require a minimum of two-person crews on freight trains carrying crude oil or certain other types of cargo.

The bill aims to improve rail safety, and builds on an initiative Heitkamp introduced after a crude-oil train derailed, caught fire and exploded near Casselton, North Dakota, in 2013.

"After the Casselton derailment, it was clear that having two crew members on board the train made all the difference to prevent the fire from escalating and threatening those living nearby," said Heitkamp in a press release. "My legislation is a commonsense way to make our communities strong and safe while supporting an industry that is vital to North Dakota jobs and prosperity."

Heitkamp's bill is supported by first responders across North Dakota, as well as SMART Transportation and the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen.

The legislation was referred to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation. Four Senate co-sponsors have signed on: Sens. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Angus King (I-Maine).

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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