August 23, 2017: Petition for Waiver of Compliance

The American Association of Railroads submitted a petition to the FRA requesting an extension and expansion on two of its current waivers of compliance.
The first waiver allowed them to operate trains at class 5 speeds over heavy point frogs (HPF) with guard check gages conforming to the standards for class 4 track frogs.
AAR was also granted a waiver of compliance regarding frog guard rails and guard faces; gage that allowed them to operate trains at class 6 speeds over HPF designs with guard-check gages conforming to the standards for class 4 track frog guard check and face gage dimensions.
The current waivers are both due to expire on January 18, 2018. Interested parties may submit comments on either waiver request until October 6, 2017.

Docket Number FRA–2001–10654

August 16, 2017: (SA) FRA Addressing Electrode-Induced Rail Pitting From Pressure Electric Welding

The Federal Railroad Administration will be issuing a safety advisory to inform railroads, contractors, and rail welders that there is a  potential for electrode induced rail pitting and fatigue cracking during the pressure electric rail welding process.
Upon concluding its investigation, FRA feels as a result of improper electrode contact to the rail during welding can result in electrode induced pitting which can lead to fatigue fracture and potential rail failure.
Interested parties may submit comments on the safety advisory until October 16, 2017.

Docket No. FRA–2017–0074; Notice No. 1

August 7, 2017: (NPRM) Rulemaking Procedures Update

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued a proposal to amend its rulemaking procedures. FMCSA is planning to revise the process for preparing and adopting rules, petitions, and direct final rules. Interested parties may submit comments until October 6, 2017.

Docket No. FMCSA–2016–0341

August 4, 2017: Kansas City Southern Railway Company’s Request for Positive Train Control Safety Plan Approval and System Certification

Kansas City Southern Railway Company is asking FRA to approve its Positive Train Control Safety Plan and issue the PTCSP Certification. Interested parties may submit comments until September 5, 2017.

Docket Number FRA–2010–0059

 

August 3, 2017: Norfolk Southern Railway Company Filed Abandonment Exemption in Atlanta, GA

Norfolk Southern Railway Company has submitted a verified notice of exemption regarding a one mile stretch of rail line in Atlanta, GA it intends to abandon. As required, NSR has also certified that the line has had no local or overhead traffic for at least two years and confirmed no complaints have been filed by a user of the rail line. Provided all remaining requirements are met the exemption will be effective on September 2, 2017.

Docket No. AB 290 (Sub–No. 388X)

July 31, 2017: Annual Tank Car Facility Survey

The Bureau of Transportation Statistics is seeking approval for an information collection from tank car facilities. The purpose is to obtain the planned and projected number of tank cars that will be retrofitted or manufactured to the new DOT standards beginning next year and continuing annually until 2029.
Interested parties may submit comments on the request until August 30, 2017.

Notice of Request for Clearance of New Information Collection: Annual Tank Car Survey

July 27, 2017: Petition for Waiver of Compliance

San Bernardino Railroad Historical Society Inc. requested a waiver of compliance from portions of the regulations pertaining to steam locomotive inspection and maintenance standards.
Specifically, SBRHS is seeking an extension of 139 calendar days before performing the mandatory 1472 SDI.
Interested parties may submit comments on the petition until September 11, 2017.

Docket Number FRA–2017–0059

July 26, 2017: Comments Requested Regarding International Standards on the Transport of Dangerous Goods

The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration is requesting comments regarding topics that will be discussed during 51st and 52nd sessions of the United Nations Sub-Committee of Experts on the Transport of Dangerous Goods.
Some of the topics currently on the agenda include explosives and related matters, listing, classification, packing, electronic storage systems, issues relating to the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals, transportation of gases, and various proposals for amendments to the Model Regulations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods.
Interested parties may submit comments until November 17, 2017.

Docket No. PHMSA–2017–0037; Notice No. 2017–02

July 11, 2017: Applications for Special Permits

The Office of Hazardous Materials Safety received eight applications for special permits. The majority of the special permit requests were for cargo aircraft. They included items such as explosives, lithium ion batteries, and anhydrous ammonia.
Interested parties may submit comments on any of the applications until August 10, 2017.

Notice of Applications for Special Permits

July 6, 2017: Hazardous Materials: New York City Permit Requirements for Transportation of Certain Hazardous Materials

On April 17, 2014, the American Trucking Associations submitted a request for a determination to verify whether or not federal hazardous material transportation law would preempt New York City’s permit requirements regarding hazardous materials being transported by motor vehicle.

PHMSA has released a notice of administrative determination that states federal hazardous material transportation law regarding inspection and permit requirements does preempt the requirements set forth by the Fire Department for the City of New York with respect to trucks that are based outside of the inspecting jurisdiction. It was determined that scheduling and conducting the vehicle inspections that are required for the permit to be issued by the fire department will cause unnecessary delays in the transportation of hazardous materials from locations outside the City of New York.

Docket No. PHMSA–2014–0003; PD–37(R)

June 16, 2017: Applications for Modification of Special Permits

The Office of Hazardous Materials Safety has received nineteen applications for modification of special permits. Interested parties may submit comments until July 3, 2017. Comments must reference the application number and be submitted in triplicate.

List of applications for modification of special permits

June 16, 2017: Notice of Applications for Special Permits

The Office of Hazardous Materials Safety received sixteen applications for special permits. Interested parties may submit comments on any application until July 17, 2017. Comments must refer to the application number and be submitted in triplicate.

Hazardous Materials: Notice of Applications for Special Permits

June 7, 2017: Regulatory Cooperation Council Stakeholder Webinar

The Regulatory Cooperation Council (RCC) Joint Action Plan, Health Canada, and OSHA have been working together to align the hazard communication regulations regarding workplace chemicals in the United States and Canada.
Health Canada and OSHA will be hosting a webinar on June 28, 2017, from 1:30-2:30 EDT for stakeholders to discuss future regulatory updates.
Interested parties are asked to join the webinar a few minutes early as there are only 300 seats available.

Access Webinar
Conference Number: PW4215051
Participant Password: 3535510

Participants wishing to join webinar via telephone:
Call-in toll-free number: 1-800-857-9638 (U.S. & Canada)
Call-in number: 1-630-395-0498 (U.S. & Canada)

May 22, 2017: Survey of Plant and Insular Tourist Railroads Subject to FRA Bridge Safety Standards

Railroads serving plants and moving railroad equipment over bridges that are within the plant are asked to advise FRA by email or phone if there are railroad bridges within the plant that may be subject to FRA Bridge Safety Standards.
FRA has also requested it be notified by email or phone if insular tourist railroads have tracks that are supported by one or more bridges.
Interested parties may submit comments on this notice until July 21, 2017.

Docket No. FRA–2017–0002–N–15

May 4, 2017: RSAC Meeting Has Been Rescheduled

The 57th meeting of the Railroad Safety Advisory Committee (RSAC) that was originally scheduled for January 26, 2017 has been moved to May 25, 2017. Some of the topics that will be discussed during the meeting include status reports from the Engineering Task Force, FRA will present the Hazardous Materials Working Group recommendations to review portions of the HMR and ask for a vote at that time.
This meeting is open to the public, however, it is on a first-come-first-served basis.

Docket No. FRA–2000–7257, Notice No. 85

 

May 1, 2017: Concerns Over ELD and Speed-Limiter Rules

Over a dozen trucking stakeholder groups worked together to submit a letter to Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao asking her to delay the implementation of the Electronic Logging Device and speed limiter rulings that are due to be in effect in December 2017. The letter explains that implementing ELD and speed limiters will cost the industry $2.845 billion.

ELD is primarily used by companies who are managing large fleets of vehicles as a way to monitor their productivity. The letter, in part, stated “While we are adamant the ELD mandate must be repealed, we are also concerned by serious complications associated with its implementation, which is currently scheduled for December 2017. We understand many significant technological concerns remain unresolved, including the certification of devices, connectivity problems in remote areas of the country, cybersecurity vulnerabilities and the ability of law enforcement to access information. For example, ELD manufacturers are currently able to self-certify technology without validation by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), creating vast uncertainty within the regulated community. This uncertainty has forced many of our members to delay the purchase and installation of ELDs until they can be guaranteed the technology will be compliant“.

In September 2016 the Obama Administration disregarded numerous highway studies that proved the use of speed limiters on heavy vehicles would make the roads less safe for all drivers and released a proposed rule that would make them mandatory. Experts warn that states with speed limits that exceed the maximum level proposed by FMCSA will see an increase in traffic accidents due to the extreme speed differences between automobiles and heavy vehicles. More trucks will be needed to move the same amount of goods which in turn leads to an increase in highway congestion.

The letter concluded by saying “President Trump’s desire to create a regulatory environment that enables businesses of all sizes to grow is commendable and welcomed. However, to do so this administration must eliminate the most egregious regulations developed under the haphazard, one-size-fits-all approach to rulemaking embraced by its predecessor.
The delay and removal of the ELD mandate, as well as the elimination of the proposed speed limiter rule, will provide immediate and overdue regulatory relief to a wide variety of industries, allowing them to devote greater resources to growth. Of all the regulations your department will consider repealing under the Executive Order, none will have a greater positive impact on American businesses than these two costly and burdensome rules. We encourage you to prioritize the ELD mandate and proposed speed limiter rule when identifying regulations for elimination”.  

Letter to Secretary of Transportation
(as reported by NITL)

 

April 25, 2017: Adjustment of Nationwide Significant Risk Threshold

The Federal Railroad Administration has issued the seventh update to the Nationwide Significant Risk Threshold (NSRT), increasing it from 14,37 to 14,723.
The NSRT is an average of the risk indexes for nationwide gated public crossings where horns were routinely sounded. It was created to serve as a threshold of permissible risk for quiet zones. Communities that wish to establish or maintain a quiet zone can review the Quiet Zone Risk Index and determine whether proper measures have been taken to compensate for the increased risk that comes from prohibiting routine locomotive horn sounding.
The effective date of this notice is April 25, 2017.

Docket No. FRA–1999–6439, Notice No. 25

April 24, 2017: (SA) Use of DOT Specification 39 Cylinders for Liquefied Flammable Compressed Gas

PHMSA issued a revised safety advisory regarding DOT-39 cylinders that exceed 75 cubic inches. The advisory states these cylinders should not be transported or filled with liquefied flammable compressed cyclopropane, ethane, ethylene, or liquifed petroleum gases.

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