On July 5, 2010, the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway Company (BNSF) and the Ferrocarril Mexican Railway Company (FXE) petitioned the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) for a test waiver of compliance to relieve BNSF from performing federally required tests and inspections on designated trains coming into the U.S. from Mexico at Eagle Pass, TX. TCU opposes this waiver and has sent comments to the FRA requesting it not be granted.
The carriers request that the trains have the required tests and inspections performed by FXE in Mexico and that these trains be considered valid for run-through over the border to continue into the interior of the U.S. without the required tests and inspections being performed on the U.S. side of the border as currently required by Federal regulation.
TCU/Carmen, along with several other unions representing railroad workers, is opposed to FRA granting the petition for test waiver because the carriers have not met the requirements of the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (RSIA) to allow waiver to be granted and the carriers have not shown that safety will be diminished due to the test waiver. The RSIA places conditions on any tests and inspections performed in Mexico which was not satisfied by the carriers in the petition for test waiver. The trains this waiver would apply to may travel up to 800 miles into the interior of the U.S. passing through several population centers.
The information from TCU members in the field shows that the trains inspected in Mexico have much higher defect rates than trains inspected by BNSF Carmen in the U.S. and would endanger the safety of both railroad workers and the general public. Our goal is to stop the BNSF and FXE from attaining the requested relief.
Click here to read the comments submitted by TCU.
Click here to read the release from the TTD.
Click here to read the related comments submitted to the FRA.