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Rail News: Safety

Colorado House passes bill requiring two-person rail crew


 The Colorado State House of Representatives last week passed a rail safety bill that would require two crew members to be present in the cab of freight trains operating in Colorado.

The bill, which now moves to the state Senate for consideration, was endorsed by the SMART Transportation Division (SMART TD) labor organization, which argues that a one-person crew would compromise rail safety.

Federal Railroad Administration regulations do not require a minimum crew number to operate the locomotive. However, all major freight railroads in the United States do operate with two or more crew members — a certified locomotive engineer and a certified conductor — on all mainline train operations, according to the Association of American Railroads' (AAR) website.

However, after the railroads fully deploy positive train control safety technology, railroads may seek to use one-person crews where PTC is in effect, AAR says.

Although some believe that one-person crews would be less safe, there is no data that supports that belief, according to AAR.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 3/7/2016