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Rail News: Federal Legislation & Regulation

Nevada AFL-CIO calls for mandatory two-person train crews


At its 63rd Constitution Convention in Las Vegas last week, the Nevada State AFL-CIO adopted a safety resolution in support of federal legislation that would mandate two-person train crews.

The resolution asserts that the best way to keep railroads safe is to implement new technology while also assuring that trains continue to be adequately staffed and operated by at least two professional crew members, said Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET) officials in a press release.

The resolution was submitted by Matt Parker, chairman of the BLET's Nevada State Legislative Board.

In addition, the resolution is critical of the Federal Railroad Administration's (FRA) decision earlier this year to rescind its proposed two-person crew regulation and take steps to preempt states from passing their own train-crew safety laws.

The resolution reads in part: "FRA's arbitrary and capricious action in this matter is to the detriment of the safety of the public, which the agency is responsible for protecting, therefore making the need to pass Federal legislation requiring freight train crews of at least two persons paramount."

BLET and the SMART Transportation Division jointly field a petition for review of the FRA's actions in the U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit. Three states — California, Nevada and Washington — have filed challenges in the same court, BLET officials said.

In deciding to withdraw its proposed rule, the FRA determined that rail safety data doesn't support a train-crew staffing rule. The Association of American Railroads has long opposed mandatory train-crew staffing rules.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 9/5/2019