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Rail News: Federal Legislation & Regulation

House railroad subcommittee hearing to focus on emerging technology

Subcommittee Chairman U.S. Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Calif.)
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The House Railroads, Pipelines and Hazardous Materials Subcommittee tomorrow will host a roundtable discussion on the impact of emerging railroad technologies on industry safety, reliability and efficiency.

Chaired by U.S. Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Calif.), the subcommittee will hear testimony from participants about ultrasound, laser and other technologies employed to obtain information about the condition of equipment components and track; new locomotives that use data to maximize train performance, while reducing emissions and fuel consumption; the use of drones to inspect track and bridges; and other technological breakthroughs.

Many of those technologies have the potential to help continue industry trends in rail safety. Since the Staggers Rail Act was enacted in 1980, the freight-rail industry has experienced an 83.4 percent reduction in total train accidents and incidents per million train-miles, and a 91.7 percent drop in rail employee on-duty fatalities, injuries and illnesses, according to a subcommittee press release.

The scheduled roundtable participants include Lynden Tennison, senior vice president and chief information officer at Union Pacific Railroad; Lisa Stabler, president of the Transportation Technology Center Inc.; Seth Bodnar, chief digital officer at GE Transportation; and John Risch, national legislative director, Transportation Division, of the Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Union (SMART).

The hearing will be held at 10 a.m. (EDT) and broadcast live via webcast. Details will be available here.