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FRA forges safety compliance agreement with Oregon short line

Central Oregon & Pacific Railroad Inc.’s (CORP) track maintenance and inspection procedures are “inadequate” and caused at least seven derailments in 2004 and 2005, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) recently determined. So, the administration has forged a two-year safety compliance agreement with the 470-mile short line to ensure the RailAmerica Inc.-owned railroad complies with federal track safety standards.

While inspecting CORP’s track, FRA safety inspectors recently found defective crossties, “poor” rail joint conditions and rails spread too far apart, the administration said in a prepared statement. Inspectors also determined the short line didn’t adequately train track inspectors or provide managerial oversight to ensure compliance with federal track safety rules.

Per the agreement, CORP must develop and implement a detailed track maintenance and inspection plan that includes measures, and inspection and training procedures to eliminate track defects.

During the next two years, the FRA will conduct periodic inspections at the short line. If CORP fails to comply with the agreement, the FRA might issue a “more stringent” compliance order.

“We fully expect railroads large and small to comply with safety regulations that protect the public and safeguard railroad employees,” said FRA Administrator Joseph Boardman.

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More News from 12/13/2005