Comprehensive Rail Safety Bill Filed

A Metro-North train stopped as it neared kayakers who were portaging across the tracks. (File photo by M. Turton)

Measures proposed to protect workers and passengers

Three of Connecticut’s representatives to Congress — Rosa DeLauro, Jim Himes and Elizabeth Esty — unveiled the Rail Safety Enforcement Act, comprehensive legislation to enhance rail safety following incidents that killed four passengers and a track worker. They are joined by New York Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney as an original cosponsor. The four representatives announced their intent to introduce the legislation last month and formally introduced the bill.

“We can’t wait until the next tragic accident to adopt these commonsense measures to protect workers and commuters. Passing the Rail Safety Enforcement Act ensures all commuter rails like Metro-North have redundant safety measures that keep folks safe,” Maloney said.

The Rail Safety Enforcement Act has five main provisions:

  1. Requires that every rail carrier control cab have an “alerter,” an automatic failsafe device that sounds an alarm when a train engineer seems idle while the train is in motion.
  2. Requires every rail carrier to develop a fatigue risk plan within 60 days and submit it to the Secretary of Transportation
  3. Requires every carrier to report on their progress in implementing the Positive Train Control System within 180 days of enactment.
  4. Requires the Secretary of Transportation to issue regulations mandating “shunting,” or redundant signal protection for workers on the track.
  5. Mandates that railroad employees are provided with predictable and defined work and rest schedules.

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