January 10, 2018: Petition for Waiver of Compliance

The Association of American Railroads submitted a petition for waiver of compliance regarding 49 CFR 232.205(b)–Class I brake test initial terminal inspection, 232.209(a)—Class II brake tests—intermediate inspection, 232.211(a)—Class III brake tests-train line continuity inspection, and 232.217(c)—Train brake tests conducted using yard air. AAR submitted the petition on behalf of its member railroads.  The petition focuses on the portion of the regulation that requires a brake test or inspection be performed if the car has been off-air for more than four hours. AAR is seeking permission to extend the off-air time to 24 hours.
At this time, FRA has no plans to hold a public hearing on the petition. Interested parties may submit comments until February 26, 2018.

Docket Number FRA–2017–0130

December 20, 2017: Canadian National Requesting PTC System Certification

Canadian National Railway submitted its Positive Train Control Safety Plan to FRA and is requesting the PTC System Certification be issued for CN’s Interoperable Electronic Train Management System. Interested parties may submit comments on the request until January 18, 2018.

Docket Number FRA–2010–0057

December 4, 2017: DOT to Repeal Electronically Controlled Pneumatic Brake Mandate

The Department of Transportation has announced the final updated RIA (Regulatory Impact Analysis) regarding Electronically Controlled Pneumatic Brakes (ECP). PHMSA and FRA made the determination to rescind the ECP mandate upon reviewing the information provided by the National Academy of Sciences’ Transportation Research Board, U.S. General Accountability Office, and studies provided by FRA. It was determined during the review that the cost of continuing the mandate would exceed three-fold the benefits it may provide.

DOT Rescinds Electronically Controlled Pneumatic Brake Mandate

November 7, 2017: Nearly 40 Million Fire Extinguishers Recalled

The Consumer Product Safety Commission has issued a recall for 37.8 million Kiddie fire extinguishers due to concerns that they may not function properly during an emergency. They have been sold across the United States over the past several decades. Some of the models being included in the recall have been recalled for unrelated issues in the past.
There have already been over 400 reports of the fire extinguishers malfunctioning, including `16 injuries and one death.
According to The Consumer Product Safety Commission, there are two issues with the fire extinguishers. The first concern is the possibility that the nozzles can fly off and become dangerous projectiles. The second issue is that the plastic handles and push buttons can become clogged. This can prevent the extinguisher from discharging properly.
The recalled extinguishers will be replaced by Kiddie at no cost to the consumer. The replacement extinguishers are made using metal parts to prevent these issues from recurring.

Massive government recall covers 37.8M Kidde fire extinguishers

Complete List of Recalled Models

October 16, 2017: Operation Safe Driver Week

This week marks the beginning of the 2017 Operation Safe Driver Week (October 15-21). Drivers across the country should be prepared for increased law enforcement presence and scrutiny.
Law enforcement officers will be focused on reducing unsafe behaviors such as texting and driving, not using seatbelts, speeding, following too closely, and improper lane changes.
The goal of Operation Safe Driver Week is to reduce the number of traffic accidents, injuries, and deaths involving commercial and passenger vehicles as a direct result of unsafe driving behaviors.

Operation Safe Driver Week

October 06, 2017: Petition for Waiver of Compliance

Central Montana Rail, Inc. is requesting an extension of an existing waiver of compliance that permits railroad employees to remain on duty up to 16 hours in a 24 hour period. CMR maintains it has seen no negative impacts to safety and only uses the longer on duty periods for special circumstances like inclement weather, traffic peaks, or employee illness.
Interested parties may submit comments on the waiver request until November 20, 2017.

Docket Number FRA–2001–10948

October 6, 2017: NCTD Requests Approval and System Certification for PTC Safety Plan

The North County Transit District submitted its Positive Train Control Safety Plan to the Federal Railroad Administration and is asking that a PTC System Certification for the Interoperable Electronic Train Management System be issued. Interested parties may submit comments on the request until November 6, 2017.

Docket Number FRA–2010–0049

October 5, 2017: Guide to Previous and Current Penalty Amounts for FMCSA Violations

In April the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced the fines for violations would be increased due to the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015. The following document lists 68 violations along with both the former and current penalty value for each violation.

2017 Inflation Adjusted Fines

September 14, 2017: Applications for Modification of Special Permits

The Office of Hazardous Materials Safety received multiple applications for modification of special permits. Interested parties may submit comments on any application until October 16, 2017. All comments must contain the application number and be submitted in triplicate.

Applications for modification of special permits

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 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