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Cites FRA's Acknowledgement of Little Evidence or Safety Data Supporting Move

WASHINGTON, D.C., March 14, 2016 – "Safety is this industry's number one concern, but there is simply no safety case to be made for a regulation that requires two-person crews, especially where Positive Train Control is fully operational," said Edward R. Hamberger, AAR president and CEO. "Worldwide, trains safely operate with one person in the cab, including here in the United States with passenger and commuter trains and some short line freight railroads. Major European railway systems running many mixed freight and passenger trains per day have safely implemented single-person train crews.

"Coming from an administration that champions smart, data-driven regulations, it is inexplicable how this proposal was approved by the President's Office of Management and Budget," said Hamberger. "Even the FRA concedes they have no 'reliable or conclusive statistical data' to suggest that two-person crews are safer. I encourage the FRA to reexamine the facts and exercise sound regulatory judgment before finalizing a rule that lacks empirical support."

Hamberger pointed out Class 1 freight railroads remain committed to two people in the cab for trains operating on mainline track that is not equipped with Positive Train Control (PTC). PTC will be in operation for 60,000 out of the nation's 140,000-mile freight rail system.

"Notwithstanding an extensive body of evidence showing that two-person crews are no safer than one-person crews, the nation's Class 1 freight railroads currently operate with two-person crews, and have committed to continuing that practice for trains without PTC systems in place," Hamberger stated. "PTC is designed to provide continuous monitoring of train operations to protect against human error in controlling train speeds and movements. This is exactly the kind of safety redundancy through technology for which the FRA has long advocated."

Hamberger also noted with irony that the proposed rule comes from the Department of Transportation (DOT) at the same time as that agency is enthusiastically promoting autonomous vehicle technology, which would facilitate platoons of un-manned trucks on our nation's highways. The same DOT is determining concrete guidelines for driverless cars, but offers absolutely no guidance to the railroads to move to one-person crews.

"The freight rail industry is spending billions to automate operations inside freight locomotives. Instead of piling on additional, duplicative regulatory costs that offer no incremental safety benefit , the government should focus on creating an environment that fuels innovation and technological advancement in furtherance of safety," concluded Hamberger.

Ethan Scott

New Member

The Freight Road and Rail Transport industry operate the most extensive transport network of all freight modes, providing much-needed flexibility and the convenience of door-to-door delivery. The industry has historically offered faster and more reliable delivery times and less damage to goods than other freight methods. According to the latest data from the Department for Transport, road transport accounted for 76% of all goods moved. This definitely was one of the big jumps in the freight industry. Let me know if we need to have a conversation around this. Eitherways, there has been a lot of chatter and developments in the freight industry across the globe. It, therefore, makes it essential for the industries to stay updated with the market trends, analyse it, and then make a call on their next moves.


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In my opinion union negotiations and regulations need to be separate. It's crazy for one arm of the DOT to be pushing for driverless truck and fleeted trucks, but the other arm creating regulation requiring 2 people in a locomotive. Should railroads go to single person crews, that's between the railroad and the unions, but from a government preservative I think the government should stay out of the talks. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to - An online railroad bookstore featuring a curated selection of new and used railroad books. Railroad pictorials, railroad history, steam locomotives, passenger trains, modern railroading. Hundreds of titles available, most at discount prices! We also have a video and children's book section. - An online model railroad bookstore featuring a curated selection of new and used books. Layout design, track plans, scenery and structure building, wiring, DCC, Tinplate, Toy Trains, Price Guides and more.

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