Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway Company (BNSF) has filed two petitions with the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) for a six-month temporary waiver of compliance from Federal Railroad Safety Regulations.
If both of these waivers are granted two critical changes would be made, it would allow BNSF to:
• Move defective equipment further than the current rule provides.
• Increase the distance of extended haul trains up to 1800 miles.
For these and other concerns the TCU Carmen Division has submitted comments requesting that these waivers be denied.
BNSF is making these requests due to economic impact. Rail safety is the obligation of FRA. Enforcement guidelines are in place to protect railroad workers and the general public. The carriers have faced the same or similar issues previously in their history and dealt with them under much more stringent regulations. The carrier’s profits and operating complications should not usurp safety.
All trains must have the same quality inspection as prescribed by the current federal regulations to ensure the safe movement of all rail equipment. If the carriers, FRA and the labor organizations are genuinely concerned about the safety of the public and the safe operation of trains, then all inspections and air tests would be performed by a Qualified Mechanical Inspector who walks the train, physically and visually inspecting every component of a railcar prior to its movement to any other location in accordance with the current federal regulations.
“Again we see a carrier try to bypass safety in order to promote convenience,” said TCU National Vice-President and Carmen Division President Rich Johnson. “We must continue to fight these attempts to place railroad safety and our members’ safety at risk.”
Click here to view the comments submitted to the FRA by the TCU Carmen Division.