TCU/IAM Carmen Division Files Comment Requesting that FRA Deny the AAR’s Petition for Waiver to Discontinue Brake Tests on Trains in the Powder River Basin

The Brotherhood Railway Carmen Division, TCU/IAM (BRC) requested that the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) deny the Association of American Railroads (AAR) request to allow the Union Pacific Railroad (UP) in the Powder River Basin to discontinue performing brake tests on designated trains due to the use of wayside detection technology. This is the third time the railroads have attempted to substitute the heat sensing scans of wayside detectors in place of the hands on, visual inspections currently performed under Class lA brake tests.
 
Comprehensive brake inspections have a long history of safety in the railroad industry and BRC maintains that their use must continue.  As noted by FRA in its denial of the railroads’ two previous petitions, wayside detectors are clearly a supplement – not a replacement – to Class lA brake tests.  FRA specifically noted that wayside detectors serve a complimentary, but distinct function. While wayside detectors use wheel temperature to identify which brakes are clearly ineffective, “a visual inspection may also identify incipient conditions in the foundation of the brake rigging that can cause the brake to become ineffective.”
 
A public hearing is expected sometime this summer on this matter.  BRC will be a part of the public hearing process.  This includes attending the hearing and providing testimony in support of our position.
 
“This is the third time the railroads have attempted to remove the requirement for these inspections,” said Carmen General President Rich Johnson. “Comprehensive hands-on brake inspections such as the Class I and Class IA brake tests continue to increase safety in the railroad industry and The Carmen Division will do whatever it takes so that their use continues.”
 
Click here to read the comments submitted to the FRA by Carmen General President Rich Johnson.

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