Feds want 2-person crews for oil trains

WASHINGTON — Responding to a series of fiery train derailments, federal regulators said Wednesday they will propose that trains transporting crude oil have at least two-man crews as part of new requirements aimed at preventing parked train cars from coming loose and causing an accident like one in July that killed 47 people.

The Federal Railroad Administration had asked a freight rail industry advisory committee to make recommendations on whether two-man crews should be required, but the industry officials were unable to reach a consensus. Federal officials said they decided to move ahead with the two-crew member requirement anyway.

“We believe that safety is enhanced with the use of a multiple person crew — safety dictates that you never allow a single point of failure,” Joseph Szabo, head of the railroad administration, said in a statement.

While existing federal regulations don’t address how many crew members freight trains must have, the general practice among the largest freight railroads is to have a minimum of two crew members for trains while in service. However, that isn’t always the case for regional and short-line railroads.

The crew proposal was prompted by an accident last July in the town of Lac-Megantic in Quebec, Canada. A train transporting oil from the Bakken region of North Dakota was left unattended by its lone crew member while parked near the town. The train came loose and sped downhill into Lac-Megantic. More than 60 tank cars derailed and caught fire, and several exploded, killing 47 people and destroying much of the town.

More in Herald Business Journal

Snohomish County’s campaign to land the 797 takes off

Executive Dave Somers announced the formation of a task force to urge Boeing to build the plane here.

A decade after the recession, pain and fear linger

No matter how good things are now, it’s impossible to forget how the collapse affected people.

Under cloud of ethics probes, Airbus CEO Enders to step down

He leaves in 2019 after 14 years. Meanwhile, aircraft division CEO Fabrice Bregier leaves in February.

For modern women, 98-year-old rejection letters still sting

In a stark new video, female Boeing engineers break the silence about past inopportunity.

Drone’s ease piercing of NY ‘no-fly’ zone underscores risks

An Army Black Hawk helicopter suffered damage to one of its rotor blades, but was able to land safely.

Tax reform needs the public’s input on spending priorities

The GOP tax plan is a good idea, but the next step should give us a voice on how taxes are spent.

Commentary: GM, Boeing fight a war of words over Mars

Boeing is strongly signaling how crucial deep-space exploration is to its future.

Disney buying large part of 21st Century Fox in $52.4B deal

Before the buyout, 21st Century Fox will spin off the Fox network, stations and cable channels.

Angel of the Winds pays $3.4M for Everett arena naming rights

The casino replaces Xfinity as the lead sponsor for the publicly owned downtown Everett events center.

Most Read