November 28, 2016: PTC Implementation Progress Report Released

FRA has released the third quarter progress information on the Positive Train Control implementation. The information shown in the Q3 2016 report was provided by the railroads and also includes data on track segments completed, locomotives equipped, employees trained, radio towers installed, and route miles in PTC operation.
According to the report freight railroads currently have PTC active on 12% of their tracks. That is an increase of 3% from last quarter. Passenger railroads have PTC active on 23% of their tracks, which is an increase of 1% from last quarter. The overall progress on the passenger railroads was primarily made on the west coast.
FRA Administrator Sarah E. Feinberg stated “In order to achieve full PTC implementation, everyone has to do their part. Railroads must make implementation a priority and Congress must make funding for commuter railroads a priority.” U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said “Passenger and freight railroads must continue their progress implementing Positive Train Control and work to beat the deadlines Congress set – because PTC saves lives.”

Latest Data on Positive Train Control Implementation Shows Uneven Progress Across Railroads 

November 28, 2016: (SA) Identification and Mitigation of Hazards Through Job Safety Briefings and Hazard Recognition Strategies

The Federal Railroad Administration issued Safety Advisory 2016-02 regarding the number of fatalities of railroad workers and contractors that occur during activities that fall outside the scope of FRA’s safety regulations but that are still under OSHA regulations.
FRA wants to remind railroads workers and contractors that it is important to identify hazardous conditions at job sites, conduct thorough safety briefings, and discuss any hazardous conditions. FRA urges railroads to take appropriate actions to mitigate those conditions. In addition, the safety advisory reminds railroad workers and contractors that OSHA’s job safety regulations may still apply to certain activities and recommends hazard recognition strategies.

 Safety Advisory 2016–02

November 25, 2016: Environmental Impact Statement for the Baltimore-Washington Superconducting Maglev Project

FRA and the Maryland Department of Transportation are planning to prepare an environmental impact statement on the Baltimore-Washington Superconduction Magnetic Levitation Project. The purpose of the project is to build a high-speed train system that would run between Baltimore, MD and Washington DC, with an intermediate stop at BWI Airport. Interested parties may submit comments until December 27, 2016.

EIS for the Baltimore-Washington Superconducting Maglev (SCMAGLEV)

November 21, 2016: (NPRM)(HM-213E) PIPES Act Requirements for ID Numbers on Cargo Tanks Containing Petroleum Based Fuel

PHMSA has released an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking in response to the Protecting our Infrastructure of Pipelines and Enhancing Safety (PIPES) Act of 2016.
The PIPES Act requires PHMSA to establish minimum safety standards for underground storage facilities containing natural gas and update minimum safety standards for permanent, small scale liquified natural gas pipelines. In addition, PHMSA is required to publish an ANPRM regarding the petition proposing hazardous materials regulations for identification numbers on cargo tanks.
Interested parties may submit comments concerning the ANPRM until February 21, 2017.

Docket No. PHMSA–2016–0079 (HM–213E)


November 21, 2016: Petition for Waiver of Compliance

Appanoose County Community Railroad (APNC) submitted a petition for waiver of compliance from safety glazing standards in regards to two locomotives. In the petition APNC states the current glazing on both locomotives are in good condition and it has no history of any accidents or injuries as a result of glazing. Interested parties may submit comments regarding the waiver request until January 5, 2017.

Docket Number FRA–2016–0087

November 21, 2016: Petition for Waiver of Compliance

In April 2009 FRA granted an application that was submitted by Sonoma Marin Area Rail Transit District (SMART) for the discontinuance or removal of the interlocking signal system on several drawbridges, including the Haystack Landing Drawbridge.
SMART has recently requested the conditions of the waiver be adjusted to facilitate the establishment of commuter rail operations on the mainline. The line has been rebuilt and now complies with Class IV track standards. The line is also equipped with an ATC system, which is interlocked with the new Haystack Landing Drawbridge and its approaches. The system is interlocked with the new control point at Hopper South, which enforces the 50 mph speed limit for passenger trains and 40 mph for freight trains that travel over the bridge.
Interested parties may submit comments on the petition until December 21, 2016.

Docket Number FRA–2008–0010

November 16, 2016: Amtrak Requests PTC Safety Plan Approval and System Certification

Amtrak submitted a request on September 14, 2016 for approval on its Positive Train Control Safety Plan Revision 4.0. The PTCSP describes the implementation of Amtrak’s ACSES II system, which is designed as a vital overlay PTC system. The PTCSP also discusses safety processes, safety analyses, test validation, and verification processes that were used during the development of ACSES II. Interested parties may submit comments on the request until December 16, 2016.

Docket Number FRA–2010–0029

November 16, 2016: Proposed Agency Information Collection Request; Request for Comments

FRA will be submitting an information collection request to the Office of Management and Budget concerning track safety standards. Prior to submitting the ICR, FRA is seeking public comments regarding specific aspects of the collection activities.
Interested parties will have until January 17, 2017 to submit comments on whether the information collection activities are necessary, whether or not the estimates provided by FRA concerning the burden the information collection activities will cause are accurate, ways FRA can enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information being collected, and how can FRA minimize the burden on the public.

Docket No. FRA–2016–0002–N–25

November 10, 2016: Agency Information Collection Activities; Revision and Extension of a Currently-Approved Information Collection Request: Hazardous Materials Safety Permits

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is requesting approval to revise its existing information collection request entitled Hazardous Materials Safety Permits. The ICR will require the companies that hold the permits to develop communication plans that permit time for periodic tracking of shipments. In addition, accurate and accessible records containing the time of the calls and locations of the shipments must be kept for no less than six months by either the drivers or the companies themselves. These records may be maintained electronically or physically and are to be made available to employees at the company’s principal place of business.
Interested parties may submit comments until January 9, 2017.

Docket No. FMCSA–2016–0359

October 31, 2016: Railroad Safety Advisory Committee; Notice of Meeting

The 57th meeting of the RSAC will be held on January 26, 2017. RSAC is an advisory committee that develops railroad safety regulations. The agenda will include a presentation on high-speed passenger rail equipment rulemaking, updates on PTC implementation, and status reports from Remote Control Locomotive, Track Standards, Hazardous Materials Issues, Rail Integrity Working Groups, and Engineering Task Force.

Docket No. FRA–2000–7257, Notice No. 83

October 31, 2016: Norfolk Southern Railway Company’s Request for Positive Train Control Safety Plan Approval and System Certification

On August 12, 2016 Norfolk Southern Railway submitted a Positive Train Control Safety Plan to the Federal Railroad Administration for approval. Before making its final decision on the approval request and issuing the Positive Train Control System Certification, FRA will accept comments on the request until November 30, 2016.

Docket No. FRA–2010–0060