Tag Archives: Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen

California Governor signs law requiring minimum 2-person freight train crew

From the Press Release
[See also: 9/11/15 coverage on Progressive Railroading.  – RS]

Governor signs Wolk rail safety bill into law

Bill requires minimum two–person train crews

 
September 9, 2015 

SACRAMENTO—Late yesterday Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. signed legislation by Senator Lois Wolk (D-Davis) to protect communities along rail lines and railroad workers by requiring trains and light engines carrying freight within California to be operated with an adequate crew size.

 

“Today’s freight trains carry extremely dangerous materials, including Bakken crude oil, ethanol, anhydrous ammonia, liquefied petroleum gas, and acids that may pose significant health and safety risks to communities and our environment in the case of an accident,” said Wolk. “With more than 5,000 miles of railroad track that crisscrosses the state through wilderness and urban areas, the potential for derailment or other accidents containing these materials is an ever present danger. This new law will provide greater protection to communities located along rail lines in California, and to railroad workers.”

 

Senate Bill 730 prohibits a freight train or light engine in California from being operated unless it has a crew consisting of at least two individuals.   It also authorizes the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to assess civil penalties, at its discretion, against anyone who willfully violates this prohibition.

 

The CPUC supports SB 730, stating that requiring two-person crews is a straightforward way of ensuring two qualified crew members continue to operate freight trains in California.  According to the CPUC, of all the industries subject to their oversight – energy, water, telecommunications, and transportation—rail accidents result in the greatest number of fatalities each year. 

 

“This new law will help keep us at the forefront of rail safety,” said Paul King, Deputy Director of the Office of Rail Safety for the CPUC. “This law will ensure that freight trains continue to have the safety redundancy that a second person provides. Such redundancy is a fundamental safety principle that is evidenced in certain industries, such as using two pilots in an airplane cockpit, or requiring back-up cooling systems for nuclear reactors.”

 

The bill is also supported by the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen, International Brotherhood of Teamsters; California Labor Federation, AFL-CIO; California Teamsters Public Affairs Council; and United Transportation Union.

 

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Melissa Jones-Ferguson

State Senator Lois Wolk – 3rd District

Phone: (916) 651-4003

E-mail: melissa.jones@sen.ca.gov

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    Rail safety bill sent to CA Governor – requires minimum 2-person crews

    Press Release from California State Senator Lois Wolk
    [Editor:  Significant quote: “According to the CPUC, of all the industries subject to their oversight — energy, water, telecommunications, and transportation — rail accidents result in the greatest number of fatalities each year”  See also coverage in The Reporter, Vacaville, CA.  – RS]

    Wolk rail safety bill sent to Governor

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    August 21, 2015, Contact: Melissa Jones, (916) 651-4003 
    Bill requires minimum two–person train crews

    SACRAMENTO—The State Assembly voted 51-28 yesterday to approve legislation by Senator Lois Wolk (D-Davis) to protect communities along rail lines and railroad workers by requiring trains and light engines carrying freight within California to be operated with an adequate crew size. The bill now goes to the Governor.

    “Today’s freight trains carry extremely dangerous materials, including Bakken crude oil, ethanol, anhydrous ammonia, liquefied petroleum gas, and acids that may pose significant health and safety risks to communities and our environment in the case of an accident,” said Wolk.

    “With more than 5,000 miles of railroad track that crisscrosses the state through wilderness and urban areas, the potential for derailment or other accidents containing these materials is an ever present danger. I urge the Governor to sign this bill into law, providing greater protection to communities located along rail lines in California, and to railroad workers.”

    SB 730 prohibits a freight train or light engine in California from being operated unless it has a crew consisting of at least two individuals.   It also authorizes the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to assess civil penalties, at its discretion, against anyone who willfully violates this prohibition.

    The CPUC supports SB 730, stating that requiring two-person crews is a straightforward way of ensuring two qualified crew members continue to operate freight trains in California.  According to the CPUC, of all the industries subject to their oversight — energy, water, telecommunications, and transportation –rail accidents result in the greatest number of fatalities each year.

    “Senator Wolk’s legislation helps keep us at the forefront of rail safety,” said Paul King, Deputy Director of the Office of Rail Safety for the CPUC. “Senator Wolk’s bill would ensure that freight trains continue to have the safety redundancy that a second person provides. Such redundancy is a fundamental safety principle that is evidenced in certain industries, such as using two pilots in an airplane cockpit, or requiring back-up cooling systems for nuclear reactors.”

    The bill is also supported by the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen, International Brotherhood of Teamsters; California Labor Federation, AFL-CIO; California Teamsters Public Affairs Council; and United Transportation Union.

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      Rail Safety bill passes out of California Senate Committee

      From an email Press Release…
      [Editor:  To read and track the bill, see LegTrak at http://www.legtrack.com/bill.html?bill=201520160SB730.  – RS]

      Rail Safety bill passes out of Senate Committee

      Bill requires minimum two–person train crews
      April 23, 2015, Contact: Monica Schmalenberger, (916) 651-4003

      SACRAMENTO—Legislation authored by Senator Lois Wolk (D-Davis) to protect communities along rail lines by requiring a safe crew size for trains operating within California secured passage from the Senate Labor Committee yesterday on a 4-1 vote.

      “Today’s freight trains carry extremely dangerous materials, including Bakken crude oil, pesticides and rocket fuel that may pose significant health and safety risks to communities and our environment in the case of an accident,” said Wolk. “With over 6000 miles of railroad track that crisscrosses the state through wilderness and urban areas, the potential for derailment or other accidents containing these materials is an ever present danger.”

      SB 730 prohibits a train or light engine hauling freight in California from being operated unless it has a crew consisting of at least 2 people.   It also authorizes the California Public Utilities Commission to assess civil penalties against anyone who willfully violates this prohibition.

      The California Public Utilities Commission voted unanimously last week to support SB 730, stating that requiring two-person crews is a straightforward way of ensuring two qualified crew members continue to operate freight trains in California until such time as the rules and practices of safe operation may be updated for safer operation with smaller crews.  According to the Commission, of all the industries subject to their oversight — energy, water, telecommunications, and transportation — rail accidents result in the greatest number of fatalities each year.

      “SB 730 is a great step toward enhancing safety and security on our state’s rail system by requiring two operating crew members to be on board each freight train and light engine,” said Timothy Smith, State Chairman of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen, the sponsor of SB 730,  “This is very similar to the necessity of having a pilot and co-pilot on every airliner.  The people of this great state demand this type of check and balance for the sake of rail safety and rail security for themselves and our environment.  If SB 730 becomes law, the railroad industry will move one major step closer to ensuring that those goals are realized.”

      SB 730 will next be heard in the Senate Appropriations Committee.

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