December 22, 2016: Application for Special Permit

The Office of Hazardous Materials Safety received an application for a special permit from Southern States, LLC. The permit is a request for modification to a currently approved special permit authorizing the transportation of a larger model of equipment. Interested parties may submit comments until January 23, 2017.

Hazardous Materials: Notice of Applications for Special Permits

December 21, 2016: Proposed Agency Information Collection Activities; Comment Request

In October OMB approved information collection activities associated with FRA’s Railworthiness Directive No. 2016-01. The approval was set to expire on April 30, 2017. However, the Railworthiness Directive was revised on November 18, 2016. FRA is now seeking approval for the information collection activities under the revised Railworthiness Directive.
Interested parties may submit comments on the new request until February 21, 2017.

Docket No. FRA–2016–0002–N–26

December 21, 2016: (ANPRM) Sampling and Testing Requirements for Unrefined Petroleum Products

PHMSA is proposing changes to the Hazardous Materials Regulations that would apply particular methods for conducting sampling and vapor testing for unrefined petroleum based products. Interested parties may submit comments, data, or relevant information between December 30, 2016 through February 28, 2017.

Hazardous Materials: Sampling and Testing Requirements for Unrefined Petroleum Products 

December 21, 2016: (ANPRM) Volitility of Unrefined Petroleum Products and Class 3 Materials

The Attorney General of New York submitted a petition for rulemaking to The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration requesting implementation of a Reid Vapor Pressure limit less than 9 pounds psi for crude oil transported by rail.
PHMSA is currently seeking comments on a range of vapor pressure thresholds and will evaluate the potential safety benefits of vapor pressure thresholds in regards to the hazardous materials classification process for both unrefined petroleum based products and Class 3 material liquids.
Interested parties will be able to submit comments, data, or relevant information between December 30, 2016 and February 28, 2017.

Hazardous Materials: Volatility of Unrefined Petroleum Products and Class 3 Materials

 

December 5, 2016: (NPRM) (HM-259) Hazardous Materials: Notification of the Pilot-in-Command and Response to Air Related Petitions for Rulemaking

PHMSA, working with FAA, is proposing amendments to the Hazardous Materials Regulations in an effort to align with the current international standards for the transportation of hazardous materials by air.
The changes would include special provisions, packaging requirements, notification of pilot-in-command (NOTOC) requirements, and include some exceptions for passengers and crew.
Interested parties may submit comments on the proposed changes until February 3, 2017.

Docket No. PHMSA-2015-0100 (HM-259)

December 19, 2016: Petition for Waiver of Compliance

Union Pacific Railroad Company submitted an extension request on a currently approved waiver of compliance. The waiver allowed locomotives with increased pilot height to be operated in the lead position over one mile of track. Union Pacific stated it has had no adverse impacts on safety during the previous 9 years it has been operating under the current waiver.
Interested parties may submit comments until February 2, 2017.

Docket Number FRA-2007-28049

December 19, 2016: Petition for Waiver of Compliance

Union Pacific Railroad Company submitted a petition for waiver of compliance from regulations regarding cab signal systems requirements.
Union Pacific is asking for relief to operate Positive Train Control equipped controlling locomotives with automatic cab signals cut-out. The relief would be within the PTC revenue service demonstration area on UP’s Portland Subdivision. The PTC system is installed and operative and the locomotive engineer will be present for the operation of the train with the ACS cut-out. The engineer is trained and qualified to operate PTC.
Union Pacific also noted the ACS and PTC systems are not integrated on the locomotive and feels using them concurrently would be confusing and distracting for the train crew due to the fact that the displays, audible and visual alerts, and required acknowledgment protocols are different.
Interested parties may submit comments regarding the petition until January 18, 2017.

Docket Number FRA–2016–0108

December 19, 2016: Petition for Waiver of Compliance

The Belt Railway Company of Chicago submitted a petition for waiver of compliance from safety regulations concerning approach locking, time locking, route locking, indication locking, and traffic locking on vital microprocessor based systems.
BRC is seeking authorization to verify and test signal locking systems by using an alternative procedure every 4 years after the initial baseline testing.
At this time FRA does not plan to hold a public hearing on this petition but will be accepting comments until February 2, 2017.

Docket Number FRA–2016–0111

December 13, 2016: (SA) Hazardous Materials: Use of DOT Specification 39 Cylinders for Liquefied Flammable Compressed Gas

The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration issued a safety advisory to offerors and users of DOT-39 cylinders. The advisory states that the cylinders with an internal volume that exceeds 75 cubic inches should not be filled with liquefied flammable compressed gas.

Docket No. PHMSA-2016-0078; Notice No. 2016-14

December 15, 2016: Petition for Waiver of Compliance

CSX is requesting a system-wide waiver of compliance from the regulations that prohibit using a switch shunting circuit as the only protection for inside switches or fouling point derails on non-signaled tracks that lead to signaled tracks.
Interested parties may submit comments until January 30, 2017.

Docket Number FRA–2016–0116

December 15, 2016: Petition for Waiver of Compliance

The Beltway Railway of Chicago submitted a petition to FRA seeking a waiver of compliance from the regulations that mandate checking the actual time interval of microprocessor based variable timers.
At this time, FRA does not plan to hold a public hearing but will be accepting comments from interested parties until January 30, 2017.

Docket Number FRA–2016–0118

December 15, 2016: Petition for Waiver of Compliance

CSX has submitted a petition for waiver of compliance to the Federal Railroad Administration. The petition is in reference to  49 CFR 236.566, Locomotive of each train operating in train stop, train control or cab signal territory; equipped.
CSX is seeking an absolute block in advance of the following movements from CP 45 at milepost OB44.5 to CP 92 milepost OB92.0 and from CP 92 milepost OB92.0 to CP 187 milepost OB187.4: engines used in switching and transfer service, with or without cars; work trains; wreck trains; ballast cleaners to and from work; engines and rail diesel cars moving to and from shops. All movements must operate at restricted speed, not exceeding 15 mph.
Interested parties may submit comments on the petition until January 30, 2017.

Docket Number FRA–2016 -0115

December 13, 2016: UPS and FedEx Announce Restrictions on Lithium Batteries

As of January 1, 2017 FedEx Express and UPS will no longer be accepting shipments containing stand alone lithium batteries under the reduced regulations listed in Section II of the IATA PI 965 and 968.
The batteries that fall into that category are small lithium metal (UN 3090) cells not more than 1g and lithium metal batteries not more than 2g. Also included in that category are lithium ion (UN 3480) cells not more than 20Wh and lithium ion batteries not more than 100Wh.
These batteries will be required to be prepared using Section 1A or 1B of the IATA DGR Packing Instruction 965 (for lithium ion) or 968 (for lithium metal).

UPS – Shipping Batteries or Devices With Batteries

FedEx Express – Shipping Lithium Batteries

 

December 7, 2016: (FR) Update to Email Address for Online Electronic Submission of Accident/Incident Reports

The Federal Railroad Administration has updated the reporting regulations for accidents and incidents. Railroads submitting accident and incident reports to FRA will be required to send them to : RsisAiReports@dot.gov. The final rule is effective as of December 7, 2016.

Update to Email Address for the Electronic Submission via the Internet of Certain Accident/Incident Reports

December 6, 2016: Proposed Agency Information Collection Activities; Comment Request

The Federal Railroad Administration is asking for public comments on plans to renew the Paperwork Reduction Act clearance to be able to participate in the Generic Clearance for the Collection of Qualitative Feedback on Agency Service Delivery program. The current clearance is set to expire on May 31, 2017. Interested parties may submit comments until February 6, 2017.

Docket No. FRA–2014–0011–N–02

December 6, 2016: (NPRM) Passenger Equipment Safety Standards; Standards for Alternative Compliance and High-Speed Trainsets

The Federal Railroad Administration has proposed changes to the regulations concerning passenger equipment safety standards. The current regulations regarding passenger rail service in a shared right-of-way are separated into two tiers. Tier one focuses on speeds up to 125 mph and tier two focuses on speeds up to 150 mph.
The proposed changes to the regulations include adding an additional tier that would focus on speeds up to 220 mph. In addition, tier three would require trains traveling at speeds above 125 mph to be in an exclusive right-of-way without grade crossings.
Additional changes being proposed include alternative crash-worthiness and occupant protection requirements. This allows for a more open rail market in the United States and will incorporate recent technological designs.
Interested parties may submit comments on the proposed regulation changes until February 6, 2017.

Docket No. FRA–2013–0060, Notice No. 1