Another 12 Months’ Delay for Railroad System Safety Rule


The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has delayed for another year the effective date of a 2016 final rule it issued that would require commuter and intercity passenger railroads to develop and implement a system safety program.

FRA’s Nov. 30 notice says rail labor organizations filed a single joint petition seeking a delay, and state and local transportation departments and authorities filed three other petitions.

According to FRA statistics, 16,286 accidents were reported for 2016 over more than 5 million train miles, resulting in 775 fatalities and 8,426 non-fatal injuries, compared with 748 fatalities and 9,439 non-fatal injuries for 2015.

The FRA stayed the rule’s requirements on Feb. 10, 2017, until March 21, 2017, and then extended the stay a further 3 times this year. Now, in a Nov. 30 Federal Register notice, FRA has extended the stay until Dec. 4, 2018.

The agency says petitions for reconsideration of this added delay must be received on or before Jan. 19, 2018, and comments in response to petitions for reconsideration must be received by March 5, 2018. Petitions for reconsideration and comments may be submitted via www.regulations.gov, at Docket No. FRA-2011-0060.

The notice says rail labor organizations filed a single joint petition seeking a delay, and state and local transportation departments and authorities filed three other petitions. It says on Oct. 30, 2017, FRA met with the Passenger Safety Working Group and the System Safety Task Group of its Railroad Safety Advisory Committee to discuss the petitions and comments received in response to them, with FRA state partners invited to the meeting, which was open to the public.

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