June 29, 2016: VGM Deadline Approaching

The new verified gross mass (VGM) rule becomes effective on July 1, 2016. Under the new rule, shippers are required to provide carriers with the verified weight of their containers prior to being loaded on a ship. The VGM must be listed in the shipping document and submitted to the terminal representative in advance. The VGM can be determined by either weighing the packed container or weighing all packages and cargo items, including pallets, dunnage, and securing materials used in the container and adding the tare mass of the container to the sum of the single masses.

 Verification of the gross mass of a packed container

SOLAS VGM Supplementary Industry FAQs (June 2016) 

June 29, 2016: (FR) (HM-258D) Revision of Maximum and Minimum Civil Penalties

PHMSA has announced changes to the minimum and maximum civil penalty amounts for knowingly violating federal hazardous materials transportation laws, regulations, orders, special permits, and approvals.
Effective August 1, 2016, the minimum civil penalty for any violation related to training has increased to $463. The maximum civil penalty has increased to $77,144 unless the violation results in serious illness, severe injury, or death. Under those circumstances, the maximum penalty will now be $179,933.

Docket No. PHMSA–2016–0041 (HM–258D)

June 30, 2016: (NPRM) (HM-219A) Hazardous Materials: Miscellaneous Petitions for Rulemaking

PHMSA has proposed multiple changes to the HMR that would update, clarify, and provide relief from some regulatory requirements. Some of the proposed changes include addressing inconsistencies with labels and placards, permitting electronic signatures on EPA manifest forms, and allowing alternative testing for aerosols.
Interested parties may submit comments until August 29, 2016.

Docket No. PHMSA–2015–0102 (HM–219A)

June 29, 2016: Environmental Impact Statement for the California High Speed Rail System San Francisco to San Jose Section

The comment period for the Environmental Impact Statement and Environmental Impact Report on the San Francisco to San Jose section of the California High-Speed Rail System has been extended. Interested parties may submit comments until July 20, 2016.

Environmental Impact Statement for the California High-Speed Rail System San Francisco to San Jose Section

June 23, 2016: Request for Comments

FRA has revised the Annual Positive Train Control Progress Report Form based on comments received from industry stakeholders. Prior to submitting the annual information collection request FRA is seeking public comments on whether the information collection activity is necessary for FRA to properly execute its functions, the accuracy of FRA’s estimates of the burden of the information collection activity, ways for FRA to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information being collected, and ways for FRA to minimize the burden of the information collection activity on the public. Interested parties may submit comments until August 22, 2016.

Docket No. FRA 2016–0002–N–16

June 22, 2016: (NPRM) Competitive Passenger Rail Service Pilot Program

The Federal Railroad Administration is proposing a regulation that would implement a pilot program for competitive selection of eligible petitioners to operate no more than three long distance routes that are operated by Amtrak. Interested parties may submit comments until August 22, 2016.

 Docket No. FRA–2016–0023; Notice No. 1

June 21, 2016: Petition for Waiver of Compliance

Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum submitted a request for permanent waiver of compliance on one caboose earlier this year regarding the certified glazing on windows requirement. According to AAR, the windows on the caboose in question are in good condition, operations are in a benign environment, and the expense of retrofitting the caboose with  certified glazing would cause a financial burden.
At this time FRA does not plan to hold a public meeting. Interested parties may submit comments until August 5, 2016.

Docket Number FRA–2010–0161

June 21, 2016: Notice of Intent To Grant a Buy America Waiver to the City of Sacramento,California, Department of Public Works

The City of Sacramento, California, Department of Public Works (Sacramento) submitted a waiver request to FRA regarding the Buy America requirement to use Walton Cirrus Original Brown #3665 in the Sacramento Valley Station. FRA will be granting the waiver request. Interested parties may submit comments until June 28, 2016.

Docket No. FRA–2012–0033

June 21, 2016: Notice of Public Hearing for Statutory Exemption

FRA will be holding a hearing at the request of the Association of American Railroads to discuss evidence for the statutory exemption request submitted earlier this year. AAR is requesting a waiver of compliance and statutory exemption regarding end-of-train devices and  brake system safety standards for freight and non-passenger trains.
The hearing will be held on September 13, 2016. FRA has also extended the comment period for the waiver of compliance request to October 13, 2016.

Docket Number FRA–2016–0018

June 17, 2016: Notice of Application for Approval of Discontinuance or Modification of a Railroad Signal System

Watco Companies LLC has petitioned FRA for approval to discontinue the traffic control system from mile post 33.00 to mile post 1.4. Watco Companies feels the traffic volume in the area does not warrant a traffic control system.
Interested parties may submit comments until August 1, 2016. At this time FRA does not plan to hold a public hearing on this matter.

Docket Number FRA–2016–0058

June 17, 2016: Petition for Waiver of Compliance

Plymouth & Lincoln Railroad (PLL) has petitioned FRA for an extension to an existing waiver of compliance. The current waiver provides relief from testing for cause, identification of trouble employees, pre-employment testing, and random drug and alcohol testing programs.
Interested parties may submit comments until August 1, 2016. At this time FRA does not plan to hold a public hearing on this matter.

Docket Number FRA–2002–12268

June 17, 2016: Petition for Waiver of Compliance

Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum (HVRM) has petitioned FRA for an extension to its existing waiver of compliance. The current waiver provides relief from reasonable cause testing, random testing, and the requirement to have voluntary referral and co-worker report policies. HVRM is also seeking to add additional territories to the waiver. Interested parties may submit comments until August 1, 2016. At this time FRA does not plan to hold a public hearing on this matter.

Docket Number FRA–2006–24647

June 17, 2016: Notice of Application for Approval of Discontinuance or Modification of a Railroad Signal System

Norfolk Southern Railway has petitioned FRA for approval to discontinue or modify a signal system. As outlined in the petition, Norfolk Southern will be converting switch 17 to a hand operated switch with an electric lock in an effort to improve operations in that area. Interested parties may submit comments or data until August 1, 2016. At this time FRA does not plan to hold a public hearing on this matter.

Docket Number FRA–2016–0057

June 17, 2016: (FR) Incorporation by Reference; North American Standard Out-of-Service Criteria; Hazardous Materials Safety Permits

The Hazardous Materials Safety Permits rules have been updated to incorporate the April 1, 2016 edition of the out-of-service criteria. This final rule is effective as of June 17, 2016.

Docket No. FMCSA–2016–0120

June 16, 2016: Comment Period Extended in ICRs

PHMSA submitted a list of Information Collection Requests to the Office of Management and Budget on March 24, 2016. No comments were received during the sixty-day comment period so it has been extended until July 18, 2016. Interested parties may submit comments regarding whether the proposed collection of information is necessary in order to perform the functions of the department, if the estimate of burden is accurate, ways to enhance the quality and clarity of the collected information, and ways to minimize the respondent’s burden.

Docket No. PHMSA–2016–0027; Notice No. 2016–9

June 15, 2016: Port Authority Trans-Hudson Corporation’s Request for PTC Safety Plan Approval and Certification

Port Authority Trans-Hudson Corporation (PATH) submitted its Positive Train Control Safety Plan revision 3.0 to FRA. PATH is asking FRA to issue the PTC System Certification for its Communication Based Train Control system. Interested parties may submit comments until July 15, 2016.

Docket Number FRA–2010–0034

June 15, 2016: Petition for Approval of Product Safety Plan

CSX has submitted a petition of approval on the Product Safety Plan for its ElectroBlox Wayside Interface Unit. CSX states the ElectroBlox system will reliably execute functions of an interoperable Positive Train Control wayside component.
At this time FRA does not plan to hold a public hearing but will be accepting comments until August 1, 2016.

FR Doc. 2016–14121

June 15, 2016: Public Hearing on Train Crew Staffing

FRA is holding a public hearing on July 15, 2016 to discuss the proposed rule on minimum train crew sizes. Interested parties will be able to provide oral comments during the hearing. In addition, the comment period has been reopened to provide enough time for interested parties to submit written comments.

Docket No. FRA–2014–0033, Notice No. 3