On June 9, 2015, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) issued a new safety advisory for passenger trains in the United States. The guidelines provided in FRA Safety Advisory 2015-03 are designed to help prevent passenger trains from speeding and, thereby, to help prevent dangerous train accidents.

The Specific Steps Passenger Railroads Should Take

The new safety advisory recommends that railroads that host passenger trains do the following:

  • Survey their passenger train service systems and identify sections of the track where there is a reduction of 20 mph or more from the approach speed to a curve or bridge and the maximum speed on those curves and bridges.
  • Modify their Automatic Train Control (ATC) or other cab signal systems to comply with set speed limits on all sections of the track.
  • Ensure that a second qualified crew member is in the cab of the controlling locomotive or is in constant communication with the locomotive engineer when the passenger train moves through identified locations of lower speed limits. This only applies if the train is not using ATC or another approved cab signal system.
  • Install additional wayside signage to alert engineers and conductors about the maximum speed limits on the system. Railroads are encouraged to pay extra attention to the need for signage at identified areas of lower speed such as curves and bridges.

Acting Federal Railroad Administrator Sarah Feinberg encouraged railroads to take immediate actions to implement these safety guidelines and mentioned that FRA may be issuing additional safety information for passenger railroads in the coming weeks. We will continue to monitor FRA's safety recommendations and other issues of importance to those who work on or ride passenger trains. Please check our blog regularly for updates.

Paul T. Hofmann
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Focused on personal injury, with an emphasis on maritime, railroad and construction worker tort claims.
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