Latest Data on Positive Train Control Implementation Show Uneven Progress across Railroads
Q3 2016 data released
WASHINGTON – The Federal Railroad Administration today released third quarter 2016 data submitted by railroads on their progress in implementing Positive Train Control (PTC). The data show uneven progress across the country and across railroads toward activating the life-saving technology.
Freight railroads now have PTC active on 12 percent of their tracks, up from 9 percent last quarter. Passenger railroads increased their percentage to 23 percent this quarter compared to 22 percent last quarter. The measurable progress made by passenger railroads has been predominately on the West Coast, while East Coast railroads, other than SEPTA and Amtrak, have remained relatively stagnant.
“Passenger and freight railroads must continue their progress implementing Positive Train Control and work to beat the deadlines Congress set – because PTC saves lives,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.
The Q3 2016 status update includes railroad-by-railroad quarterly data as of Sept. 30, 2016, and includes data such as track segments completed, locomotives equipped, employees trained, radio towers installed, route miles in PTC operation and other key implementation data. Some of this information is displayed in infographics below.
“In order to achieve full PTC implementation, everyone has to do their part – railroads must make implementation a priority, and Congress must make funding for commuter railroads a priority,” said FRA Administrator Sarah E. Feinberg.
Since 2008, FRA has provided significant assistance to support railroads’ PTC implementation. Those efforts include:
To view the interactive graphic of PTC implementation by freight and passenger railroads, visit https://www.fra.dot.gov/app/ptcsummary/ or click on the graphic below:
To view the interactive graphic of an individual railroad’s PTC implementation, visit https://www.fra.dot.gov/app/ptc/ or click on the graphic below:
To view each railroad’s full quarterly PTC Progress Report, please visit: https://www.fra.dot.gov/Page/P0628.
WASHINGTON — The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) today sent a letter again instructing railroads transporting crude oil that they must continue to notify State Emergency Response Commissions (SERCs) and Tribal Emergency Response Commissions (TERCs) of the expected movement of Bakken crude oil trains through individual states and tribal regions. Since May 2014, trains with 1,000,000 gallons or more of Bakken crude oil – approximately 35 tank cars – are subject to the notification.
“Transparency is a critical piece of the federal government’s comprehensive approach to safety,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said. “DOT is committed to making certain that states and local officials have the information they need to prepare for and respond to incidents involving hazardous materials, including crude oil. The Emergency Order that requires these notifications still stands, and we expect railroads to fully comply.”
The requirement, part of an Emergency Order issued in May 2014, also directs railroads to include estimated volumes of crude oil, the frequency of anticipated train traffic, and the route the crude oil will be transported. Contact information for at least one individual at the host railroad must be provided as well. In May, the Department of Transportation (DOT) announced that it would make the notification requirements of the Emergency Order permanent.
“We strongly support transparency and public notification to the fullest extent possible,” said FRA Acting Administrator Sarah Feinberg. “Railroads transporting crude oil must continue to provide the information required by the Emergency Order to SERCs and to update notifications in a timely manner. FRA will continue with random spot checks and regular compliance audits to ensure that states, local communities, and first responders have the information necessary to respond to a possible accident. FRA will take enforcement actions as necessary to ensure compliance.”
Earlier this year, the Department of Transportation (DOT), released its comprehensive rule that raises the bar on the safety of transporting crude oil by rail. The rule requires stronger tank cars and 21st century electronically controlled pneumatic (ECP) brakes that activate simultaneously on all tank cars, reduce the distance and time needed for a train to stop, and keep more tank cars on the track if a train does derail.
Read the letter below:
The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), including the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), has made enhancing the safety of rail transportation of crude oil one of its top priorities. And we have improved safety by convening the railroad and energy industries, undertaking and completing a comprehensive rulemaking, and executing multiple safety advisories and emergency orders.
BNSF crude train derails in N.D.; senators call on Foxx to issue emergency order
Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) are on the scene today of a BNSF Railway Co. crude-oil train that derailed and caught fire yesterday morning in Heimdal, N.D.
The BNSF train consisted of 109 total cars, 107 of which were loaded with crude oil. Two buffer cars were loaded with sand. Six of the crude oil cars derailed at about 7:30 a.m., resulting in a fire and the town's evacuation. All other cars were pulled away from the scene to a safe distance. No injuries were reported, according to a statement issued by BNSF.
The tank cars involved in the incident were the unjacketed CPC-1232 models, which are among the tank-car models slated for retrofits or phasing out under new federal rules governing the safety of crude-by-rail transportation.
The FRA deployed a 10-person investigation team to the site. FRA Acting Administrator Sarah Feinberg said the incident "is yet another reminder of why we issued a significant, comprehensive rule aimed at improving the safe transport of high hazard flammable liquids."
"The FRA will continue to look at all options available to us to improve safety and mitigate risks," Feinberg said in a prepared statement.
Meanwhile, eight U.S. senators yesterday sent a letter urging U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx to immediately enact stronger disclosure requirements regarding shipments of Bakken crude oil. The U.S. Department of Transportation announced new regulations last week that included requiring railroads to share information on the shipment of crude oil with emergency responders.
"We call upon you to issue an emergency order that improves the process for providing detailed information on crude-by-rail movements and volumes to first responders, shifts the onus for information sharing onto the railroads and not communities, and allows for the continued public availability of broader crude-by-rail data on movements and routes,” the senators wrote.
"The final rule constitutes a setback on disclosure requirements that could hamper our first responders and negatively impact the safety of our communities. We urge you to promptly address these shortfalls, and look forward to your response,” the senators continued.
The letter was signed by U.S. Sens. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Robert P. Casey, Jr. (D-Pa.), Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.).
The Federal Railroad Administration is considering a rule that would require Class I freight railroads and railroads with poor safety performances to develop and implement formal risk reduction programs.
A risk reduction program would involve employees working together to identify potential hazards and determine plans to reduce or eliminate associated risks, FRA said in a notice of proposed rulemaking published in the Feb. 27 Federal Register. An ongoing risk-based hazard management program, including a hazard analysis, would help prioritize the risks to be addressed, the notice states.
Risk Reduction Program; Proposed Rule
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