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Rail News: Federal Legislation & Regulation

Short line association voices opposition to Safe Freight Act


American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association President Richard Timmons recently sent a letter to the U.S. House to voice the association's opposition to the Safe Freight Act (H.R. 3040), which would require at least two crew members on all U.S. freight trains.

U.S. Rep. Michael Michaud (D-Maine) introduced the bill on Aug. 2 in response to the Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway derailment that occurred July 6 in Lac Mégantic, Quebec. The legislation aims to ensure no trains are left unattended.

"This bill seeks to impose this mandate without reference to the positive improvements in rail safety since technology and safety improvements have reduced the need for large train crews over the past three decades," Timmons wrote in the letter, which was dated Oct. 14. "A crew size mandate in the United States based on an accident that happened in a foreign country for which a definitive cause has not yet been determined is premature at best."

Short lines operate safely each day with varying crew sizes, including single-person operations, he added.

Timmons called on House members to refrain from co-sponsoring H.R. 3040. The bill, which was referred to the House Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines and Hazardous Materials, currently has 16 co-sponsors.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 10/25/2013