September 30, 2015: Positive Train Control Deadline Extension

In an effort to avoid significant disruptions to passenger and freight rail services, the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee introduced The Positive Train Control Enforcement and Implementation Act of 2015. This legislation will extend the deadline for railroads to implement Positive Train Control technology.
Most commuter and freight railroads have reported difficulty in meeting the original deadline of December 31, 2015. Maintaining the current deadline would force freight railroads to suspend shipments and commuter railroads to cease operations thereby causing a significant disruption to commuters. Bill Shuster, chairman of Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, said “Railroads must implement this important but complicated safety technology in a responsible manner, and we need to give them the necessary time to do so.” Jeff Denham, chairman of Railroads, Pipelines and Hazardous Materials Subcommittee, stated “This extension will ensure our nation’s railroads can continue to function and hold them accountable to implement necessary safety measures on a public timeline.”
Under The Positive Train Control Enforcement and Implementation Act of 2015 the new deadline for full compliance will be December 31, 2018.

Positive Train Control Enforcement and Implementation Act of 2015

September 30, 2015: Petition for Waiver of Compliance

The Historic Railroad Equipment Association (HERA) submitted a petition to the Federal Railroad Administration for waiver of compliance on specific sections of the 49 CFR. Those sections are part 215.123, defective couplers, part 215.127, defective draft arrangement, and part 215.129, defective cushioning device.
The car at the center of this petition, the Lincoln Funeral Car replica, is on exhibition celebrating the 150th anniversary of the operation of the Lincoln Funeral Train. The replica car will be pulled by the Leviathan #63 and the York, a replica of an 1860s era steam locomotive, as it visits various tourist railroads.
Prior to FRA making its final decision regarding this petition, comments will be accepted until November 16, 2015.

[Docket Number FRA–2015–0043]

 

 

September 25, 2015: (NPRM) Hazardous Waste Generator Improvements

The EPA is requesting revisions to the current hazardous materials regulations in an effort to improve compliance which would, in turn, enhance protection of the environment and public health. The proposed changes include revisions to certain components of the current hazardous waste generator regulatory program, addressing gaps in the regulations, reorganize the regulations so they are easier to read and more user friendly, increase the flexibility for hazardous waste generators in an effort to allow them to manage the hazardous waste in a more protective and cost effective manner, and remove references to discontinued programs.
Interested parties may submit comments on this proposal until November 24, 2015.

Federal Register / Vol. 80 / No. 186

September 25, 2015: Notice of Application for Modification of Special Permit

The Office of Hazardous Materials Safety has received several applications requesting modification of special permits. A complete list of such applications has been published in the Federal Register. Under the “Nature of Application” section the mode of transportation can be identified using the following numbers:
1 – Motor Vehicles
2 – Rail Freight
3 – Cargo – Vessel
4 – Cargo – Aircraft Only
5. Passenger – Carrying Aircraft

Comments will be accepted in writing until October 13, 2015.

Federal Register / Vol. 80 / No. 186

September 25, 2015: Actions on Special Permits

PHMSA has issued a notice of actions on special permit applications. A list of the applications has been published in the Federal Register. Application numbers beginning with “EE” are the Emergency Special Permits. Under the “Nature of Application” section the mode of transportation can be identified using the following numbers:
1 – Motor Vehicles
2 – Rail Freight
3 – Cargo – Vessel
4 – Cargo – Aircraft Only
5. Passenger – Carrying Aircraft

Federal Register / Vol. 80 / No. 186

 

September 25, 2015: Special Permit Applications Delayed

PHMSA has published a list of special permit applications that have been in process for at least 180 days. There are various reasons why applications can be delayed. Some of the key reasons include awaiting additional information, extensive public comment under review, complex application that will have a significant impact or precedent-setting and therefore requires extensive analysis before approval, and priority issues. PHMSA published a complete list of the delayed applications along with the reasons for each delay in the Federal Register.

Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 186

 

September 23, 2015: Petition for Waiver of Compliance

On August 25, 2015 FRA received a petition for waiver of compliance from the Illinois Central Railroad Company; Wisconsin Central Ltd.; Grand Truck Western Railroad Company; Sault Ste.; Marie Bridge Company; Bessemer and Lake Erie Railroad Company; Pittsburgh and Conneaut Dock Company. The waiver request is in regards to 49 CFR 240.111, which focuses on motor vehicle operation safety conduct data required both for initial certification and recertification of locomotive engineers, and asks that they be permitted to initially certify or recertify locomotive engineers for 60 days. This request will conform to provisions listed for 49 CFR 242.111(c) & (d). The petitioners stated there is not a railroad safety basis currently for not extending the same provisions for the certification of locomotive engineers. FRA has no plans to hold a public meeting regarding this waiver, however it will accept oral comments if the interested party submits the request in writing no later than November 9, 2015.

Docket Number FRA–2015–0095

September 23, 2015: Petition for Waiver of Compliance

On August 19, 2015 Delaware Lackawanna Railroad Company petitioned the Federal Railroad Administration for a waiver of compliance from the regulation 49 CFR 223, which deals with Safety Glazing Standards. DLR is specifically looking for a waiver on a 100 ton, 600 horsepower diesel-electric locomotive that was built in 1934. This locomotive is used in yard switching and has occasionally been used for historic passenger moves on the Steamtown National Historic Site. When moving, this locomotive does not exceed 15 mph and currently has unblemished laminate safety glass. DLR performs service and maintenance at their facility in Scranton, PA. DLR stated the reason for the waiver request is the locomotive has limited operation and low risk of safety of continuing to operate with the glazing that is currently on the locomotive. At this time FRA has no plans to hold a public hearing on this petition but will accept oral comments from interested parties provided they submit their request in writing by November 9, 2015.

Docket Number FRA–2015–0093

September 23, 2015: Petition for Waiver of Compliance

On August 12, 2015 Metro North Railroad submitted a petition to FRA requesting a waiver of compliance concerning the regulation, 49 CFR 213.233(c), that requires all tracks that carry passenger trains to be inspected twice a week. FRA has stated that its interpretation of the regulation indicates a standard week that begins on Sunday and ends on Saturday. Metro North is seeking permission to use calendar weeks that begin on Monday as it would be more cost effective. At this time FRA does not expect to hold a public hearing regarding this request. Interested parties may give oral comments provided they notify FRA in writing no later than November 9, 2015.

Docket Number FRA–2015–0081

September 23, 2015: Comments Requested on Information Collection Activities

The Federal Railroad Administration is seeking comments regarding currently approved information collection activities that are up for renewal. Prior to submitting the renewal request to OMB they are asking for public comments on specific aspects of the activities. Comments will be accepted until November 23, 2015.

Docket No. FRA 2015–0007–N–25

September 23, 2015: Notice of Application for Approval

On June 23, 2015 CSX Transportation submitted a petition seeking approval to discontinue or modify a signal system as they are no longer using the effected facilities. CSX would like to discontinue Control Point Watson on the Chicago Division, Grand Rapids Terminal Subdivision, Milepost CGE0.4 They intend to remove signals 2, 4, 6, and 8. The power operated switch 3 will also be removed. In addition, the existing power operated switch 1 will be converted to a hand operated switch. At this time FRA is not planning to hold a public hearing on this petition. Interested parties may provide oral comments provided they notify FRA in writing by November 9, 2015.

Docket Number FRA–2015–0097

 

September 21, 2015: Proposed Agency Information Collection Activities; Comment Request

The Federal Railroad Administration is seeking renewal on several currently approved information collection activities. Prior to submitting the collection requirements to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) FRA is requesting public comments on certain aspects of the activities. Comments will be accepted until November 20, 2015.

[Docket No. FRA 2015–0007–N–23]

 

September 16, 2015: Notice and Request for Comments on ICRs

The purpose of this notice is to announce that the renewal Information Collection Requests (IRCs) will be forwarded to the Office of Management and Budget for review and comment. The ICRs will detail how the information is being collected and the expected burden of such collections. Interested parties may submit comments by October 16, 2015.

Docket No. FRA–2015–0007–N–24

September 15, 2015: (NPRM) Comment Period on Risk Reduction Program

Earlier this year the FRA posted a notice of proposed rule making regarding the proposed rule that would mandate Risk Reduction Programs (RRPs) for certain railroads. A public hearing was held to give interested parties a platform to provide comments regarding the proposed rule in August 2015. FRA is now providing an opportunity for interested parties to submit written comments regarding the proposed rule or on any of the information that was provided in the public hearing. Written comments will be accepted until September 18, 2015.

Docket No. FRA–2009–0038

 

September 10, 2015: ICAO Publishes Addendum 2 for the 2015-2016 Edition of the Technical Instructions (TI).

The International Civil Aviation Organization has published addendum 2 for the 2015-2016 Edition of the Technical Instructions (TI). This addendum contains several editorial revisions throughout the ICAO-TI manual. Adjustments have also been made regarding state and carrier operator variations concerning the transportation of lithium iron and lithium metal batteries.

Technical Instructions for the Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods by Air

 

September 10, 2015: Notice of Approval for Application to Discontinue or Modify a Railroad Signal System

On July 7, 2015 Norfolk Southern Corp. submitted a petition to the FRA asking for approval to discontinue or modify Control Point Raitt on the Buchanan Branch, milepost D-16.3 in Weller Virginia as it is no longer needed. The power-operated switch will be replaced with a hand-operated switch. This change will not have any effect on the current operating rules for that area. While the FRA has no plans to schedule a public hearing on the matter, interested persons can submit written views, data, or comments by October 26, 2015. Communications must include the docket number FRA-2015-0083.

Notice of Application for Approval of Discontinuance or Modification of a Railroad Signal System

 

 

September 10, 2015: (FR)(HM-233E) Special Permit and Approvals SOP and Evaluation Process

In order to address issues that were identified in the Hazardous Materials Transportation Safety Improvement Act of 2012 PHMSA will be incorporating regulations to include standard operating procedures (SOPs) and criteria that is used when evaluating special permit applications and permits. The rulemaking will provide some clarity to the conditions that are needed to properly submit applications for special permits. The amendments will not change policies that were previously established. This final rule will be effective on November 9, 2015.

Special Permit and Approvals Standard Operating Procedures and Evaluation Process

August 28, 2015: Notice of Lithium Battery Safety Public Meeting and Request for Information

The FAA’s Office of Hazardous Materials Safety and PHMSA’s Office of Hazardous Materials Safety have announced that a public meeting will be held on September 18, 2015 to obtain input on risk mitigation strategies to enhance the safe transportation of lithium batteries. A discussion on the ICAO’s International Multidisciplinary Lithium Battery Transport Group’s pertinent safety recommendations will also be included in the meeting. Interested parties are also invited to submit comments and supporting data.

Notice of Lithium Battery Safety Public Meeting and Request for Information

 

August 21, 2015: Hours of Service of Drivers: Application for Exemption; American Trucking Associations, Inc.

FMCSA has granted an exemption from the federal hours of service regulations to motor carriers transporting security sensitive hazardous materials requiring a security plan. The federal hours of service regulation prevents CMV drivers from driving if more than 8 consecutive hours have passed since the driver’s last off duty or sleeper berth period of 30 or more minutes. The security plans would normally require drivers to attend such cargo while stopped. That is considered an on-duty activity under the hours of service regulation. As a result of the exemption drivers will now be permitted to count their on-duty attendance of hazardous materials cargo towards their required 30 minute rest break as long as they do not perform any other on-duty activities during that time.

Hours of Service of Drivers: Application for Exemption; American Trucking Associations, Inc.

HM-251 – It’s Not Just For Crude Oil Anymore!

Wendy Buckley, President and Founder of Specialty Transportation and Regulatory Services, has written an article on HM-251 for Packing World Magazine titled “HM-251 — It’s Not Just For Crude Oil Anymore“.  In the article Ms. Buckley discusses the impact the new requirements will have had on the industry. Below is an excerpt of the article.

“Seemingly no stakeholders are happy with most provisions of the new rule to address Enhanced Tank Car Standards and High Hazard Flammable Trains. Sometimes, that is a sign the rule has spread the economic burden equally across the industry. You will have to determine, based upon where you are in the regulatory scheme, whether that is true or not for you. The ECP (electronically controlled pneumatic) brake rule will have an impact on all shipments by rail, even non-hazardous materials and products. It will significantly affect the way both tank cars and packages are built (for example, shock and vibration impacts on the package’s ability to protect the product), and the cost to build and maintain them.”