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1/4/2008



Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

FRA collects fines from CSXT, challenges Class I to instill safety culture



CSX Transportation has paid the price for violating more than 100 federal safety regulations — to the tune of $349,265 in civil penalties. But the Class I will pay a stiffer price, both monetarily and operationally, if it doesn't make a long-term commitment to instilling a safety culture and boosting safety performance, said Federal Railroad Administrator Joseph Boardman in a statement released yesterday.

"CSX has made significant strides in the short term to lay new rail, increase its own inspections of track and equipment, and install trackside detection systems in more locations to identify potential problems early," he said. "But CSX cannot make this a one-time fix. The FRA expects CSX to make a sustained commitment to continuously improve safety for the benefit of its customers, its staff and the public."

In January 2007, the FRA conducted "safety oversight" inspections across CSXT's network after the Class I suffered a series of serious train accidents and incidents between November 2006 and January 2007. Inspectors identified about 200 safety regulation violations. The FRA's Office of Chief Counsel determined 166 of the violations were "legally sufficient" for assessing civil penalties. To date, 141 of the violations have been resolved by the FRA and CSXT.

The FRA agreed to collect a total of $349,265 from CSXT to close out civil penalty cases surrounding the 141 violations. The administration expects to address the remaining 25 violations at an annual settlement conference to be held with CSXT later this year.

The railroad is heeding the FRA's call for a renewed focus on safety, CSXT officials said in a prepared statement.

"CSXT is committed to continuing its strong safety improvements through prudent, long-term investments in infrastructure and technology, as well as through diligent inspections and training," they said.


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