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Rail News: Federal Legislation & Regulation

FRA unveils final rules for certifying dispatchers, signal employees

FRA Administrator Amit Bose
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The Federal Railroad Administration today announced two final rules that will require railroads to develop certification and training programs for train dispatchers and signal employees.

Under the final rules, railroads must submit certification programs for FRA approval that will evaluate the knowledge, skills and prior safety records of the dispatchers who allocate and assign track use and route trains and the signal employees who install, repair and maintain signal systems that direct train movements.

In addition, these certification programs will help ensure that dispatchers and signal employees periodically receive training on railroad safety and operating rules and practices, as well as on new systems and technology, FRA officials said in a press release.

Unlike for conductors and locomotive engineers, there have been no federal regulations mandating specific training requirements, safety and knowledge checks, and verification of safety records for dispatchers and signal employees. These final rules address that gap in rail safety and will help ensure that certified dispatchers and signal employees are qualified and fit for duty, the release said.

"Railroading has become an increasingly complex and demanding line of work, as employees must learn and adapt to new technologies and computerized systems, and as continuing workforce reductions have placed a greater responsibility on current and new workers," said FRA Administrator Amit Bose. "By establishing a federal standard on the certification of dispatchers and signal employees, FRA is ensuring that railroads properly prepare, train and equip their workforce, now and in the future."

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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