In an emergency session Friday, the U.S. Federal Railroad Administration’s Railroad Safety Advisory Committee met to consider additional safety regulations in the wake of the July Quebec train derailment.
Working groups will now be established, and their findings will be presented to the committee by April.
“Today’s meeting brings together some of the best and brightest minds our industry has to offer in order to tackle issues of paramount importance,” Joseph Szabo, FRA’s administrator, said in a statement. “The dialogue will serve to build upon the comprehensive regulatory framework we already have in place, and allow us to further enhance safety by eliminating additional risk from the railroad system.”
The discussion also included requirements of the FRA’s emergency order and safety advisory passed Aug. 2. In the documents, the agency said that railcars transporting hazardous materials are not to be unattended on mainline tracks. The guidelines also went over new training for employees and handbrake operation and inspection.
At the meeting, members voted on passing regulations regarding crew size, the testing of employees, and the identification of hazardous materials. Regulations regarding how trains are secured were also discussed.
“As greater quantities of hazmat are transported by rail and other modes, the risks increase, and we have to make sure our regulations are keeping pace with market and technology forces,” Cynthia Quarterman, administrator of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration. “We have to work together to identify gaps, be willing to acknowledge them and close them.” - Jon Ross