Rail News: May 21st, 2024

FRA Releases Two Final Rules Regarding Rail Safety

Rail safety has been a pressing topic in the last year. Earlier this week, the Federal Railroad Administration announced two final rules that force railroads to develop certification and training programs for train dispatchers and signal employees.

What do these final rules mean?

  • Firstly, the FRA says railroads will need to present certification programs to the FRA for approval. These programs will assess the expertise, experience, and past safety performance of dispatchers, responsible for managing track usage and directing train routes, and signal employees, tasked with installing, repairing, and maintaining signal systems guiding train movements.
  • Secondly, these initiatives will guarantee that dispatchers and signal employees undergo regular training in railroad safety protocols, operational rules, and procedures, along with updates on emerging systems and technologies.

U.S. Rail Traffic From the Week Ending May 11th, 2024

  • Weekly data regarding U.S. rail traffic shows 468,748 carloads and intermodal units, an increase of 0.6% from the same time last year – per AAR data.
  • Intermodal volume in the U.S. saw a 7.7% increase (259,429 containers and trailers) from last year.
  • Commodities including chemicals, petroleum and petroleum products, and miscellaneous carloads all saw increases this week when compared to this same time last year. While coal, non-metallic minerals, and grain all saw decreases.
  • For the first 19 weeks of this year, rail volume in North America saw a 2.1% increase (totaling 12,481,187) from last year, the data shows.
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