The Brotherhood Railway Carmen Division, TCU/IAM (BRC) requested that the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) schedule a public hearing regarding the request by 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 second time UP has 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 UP’s first petition, 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.”
TCU/IAM Carmen Division has requested that the FRA schedule a public hearing on this request and is filing comments against the request by the UP.
Click here to view the BRC request to the FRA.
Click here to view the comments filed by the BRC to the FRA.