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Rail News: Passenger Rail

MBTA, Keolis, unions agree to implement close-call reporting system


Officials from the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA), Keolis Commuter Services, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and four labor unions signed an agreement today that would implement a federal close-call reporting system designed to improve safety.

The FRA's Confidential Close Call Reporting System (C3RS) allows any employee to anonymously report safety-related issues or concerns without fear of facing sanctions. The C3RS program is the first of its kind in Massachusetts.

At a ceremony held at Keolis’ Boston headquarters, officials from the American Train Dispatchers Association, Transportation Communications Union, Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen, and United Transportation Union joined MBTA, Keolis and FRA representatives to sign the memorandum of understanding to implement the voluntary reporting system.

"C3RS programs promote a positive safety culture by helping railroads gather new safety data and proactively establish new and innovative practices that continuously improve railroad safety,” said FRA Associate Administrator for Railroad Safety Robert Lauby in a press release issued by Keolis, which is MBTA's commuter-rail operator.

According to the FRA’s C3RS Pilot Program Midterm Report, there was a 69 percent decrease in human factor caused accidents at rail yards that implemented C3RS, Lauby added.

The system's confidentiality makes employees feel more comfortable in reporting even minor safety concerns, which will help the railroad to identify "trends and track issues before they become major problems," said Keolis Commuter Services General Manager Gerald Francis.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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