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House hearing to address recent derailments, state of rail safety

U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee's Subcommittee on Railroads plans to hold a hearing June 6 at 10 a.m. to discuss recent train derailments and railroad safety issues.
The tentative witness list includes Federal Railroad Administration Administrator Allan Rutter, National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Marion Blakey, Amtrak Vice President and Chief Transportation Officer Stephen Strachan, Association of American Railroads President and Chief Executive Officer Edward Hamberger, Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen President Dan Pickett and Circadian Technologies President Dr. Martin Moore-Ede.
The hearing, to be chaired by Rep. Jack Quinn (R-N.Y.), would address the circumstances surrounding an Amtrak Autotrain that derailed April 18 in Crescent City, Fla., killing six and injuring 150; a Burlington Northern Santa Fe train that collided with a Metrolink commuter train in Placentia, Calif., killing two and injuring more than 186; and an Amtrak train that derailed May 14 in South Carolina after colliding with a truck, injuring 14.
The hearing also would examine FRA track-safety standards and regulations governing speed limits for various track classes and rail types. For example, some recent derailments might've involved continuous welded rail, which could require FRA to issue safety rules that differ from those governing rail that's bolted together.
Meanwhile, witnesses plan to address the Hours of Service Act, which sets legal limits for railroad employees' on-duty time, and the relationship of that law to current medical knowledge about wake-sleep cycles.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 6/5/2002