CSX Transportation (CSX) petitioned the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) for a waiver of compliance from certain provisions of the Federal railroad safety regulations regarding the testing and inspecting of air brakes. CSX’s waiver contains three specific requests: (1) to extend the mileage limits of the subject trains from 1000 to 1052 miles before a Class 1A test must be performed; (2) that qualified persons (instead of qualified mechanical inspectors) be allowed perform inspections; and (3) that these trains be allowed to make multiple pick-ups and set-outs. CSX maintains that the requested relief will not compromise the safety of CSX operations, or increase the risk of an accident or incident, or jeopardize the safety of its employees or the general public.
The Brotherhood Railway Carman (BRC) has joined with other rail unions to oppose CSX’s petition for waiver because the requested relief will not ensure the same level of safety as provided by the current Federal regulations. Among other things, the unions specifically complained to FRA that CSX trains traveling over 1000 miles should be designated as extended haul trains making them subject to the more strict inspection requirements for such designated trains. Moreover, these inspections should also be performed by qualified mechanical inspectors because they have invaluable instruction and training (including hands-on experience) that cannot be substituted. Finally, these trains should not be allowed to make multiple pick-ups and set-outs that would allow CSX to continually operate cars without inspections as it performs multiple cuts of cars from train to train.
“Simply put, CSX could use this relief to eliminate inspection points where our carmen perform tests and inspections,” says BRC General President Rich Johnson. “In fact, such eliminations will not only cause carmen to lose their work but would also lower the safety requirements for CSX trains. This would encourage other carriers to request the same relief, leading to a continued erosion of railroad safety standards that were designed to protect both railroad workers and the general public.”
Click here to read the comments from Rich Johnson, TCU Vice-President and Carmen Division General President.
Click here to read the comments from TWU.
Click here to read the TTD letter to the FRA.