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4/7/2009



Rail News: Passenger Rail

UTU launches close-call pilot program with NJ Transit


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The United Transportation Union (UTU) recently signed on for its third Confidential Close Calls Reporting System pilot project — this time, with a passenger road.

UTU inked a deal with New Jersey Transit under which employees can confidentially report safety concerns or operating rule violations to the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA). The American Train Dispatchers Association and Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen also signed the agreement.

Sponsored by the FRA and U.S. Department of Transportation's Bureau of Transportation Statistics, the program aims to ensure unsafe activity — which otherwise would have been unreported or under-reported — is studied by an on-property peer review team comprising labor, rail management and FRA representatives. Data compiled from the studies can be used to recommend corrective action.

A "close call" is defined as "a situation in which an ongoing sequence of events was stopped from developing further, preventing the occurrence of potentially serious safety-related consequences," according to the FRA.

UTU is participating in similar pilot projects with Union Pacific Railroad in North Platte, Neb., and Canadian Pacific in Portage, Wis. The union is in discussions to conduct a fourth pilot on a portion of Amtrak's Northeast Corridor.


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