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Rail News: Safety

Push-pull passenger-rail operations are safe, FRA says


Push-pull passenger-rail operations have an “excellent” safety record and a train being pushed has no greater likelihood of derailing after a grade crossing collision than one with a locomotive in the lead, according to the results of a recent Federal Railroad Administration accident data study.

The findings re-affirm conclusions from a July 2005 FRA report that reviewed push-pull operation safety. Between 1996 and 2005, only three push trains derailed out of 218 collisions and two pull trains derailed out of 290 collisions.

“Preventing accidents and protecting passengers have much more to do with improving safety than whether the locomotive is in the front or rear of a train,” said Federal Railroad Administrator Joseph Boardman in a prepared statement.

To improve passenger-rail safety, the FRA is conducting pilot programs with commuter railroads in Florida and Virginia to identify potential collision hazards and determine ways to address them.

Earlier this year, the administration conducted a crash test of two trains using crash energy management technology, which designates crush zones away from passenger seating areas. The FRA also unveiled a rescue training simulator that rotates a commuter-rail car up to 180 degrees so emergency responders can learn how to save passengers after rollover accidents.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 6/27/2006