Indiana Rail Road, with the backing of the major rail carrier organizations, has filed suit challenging a law requiring two people on freight crews in Illinois, the Courthouse News Service reported.
“The recent history of railroads confirms the wisdom of FRA’s expert determination that minimum-crew-size laws are neither necessary nor appropriate,” the carriers said in their filing. “In recent decades, technological breakthroughs have allowed railroads to gradually decrease average crew sizes—from about five in the 1960s to just two today—while compiling an ever-improving record of safety. Now, the nation’s railroads are poised to deliver even safer and more efficient service.”
The filing repeatedly referenced the Federal Railroad Administration’s withdrawal of its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that occurred in late May. In the NPRM, FRA Administrator Ron Batory announced that his agency was acting with the intention to pre-empt any state laws regarding rail crew size. Indiana Rail Road, a regional railroad that operates over 250 miles of track in Illinois and Indiana, began using one-person crews in 1997.
The FRA’s NPRM withdrawal is being challenged in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in Nevada by SMART TD, Illinois and a number of other states. Illinois on Aug. 9 became the seventh state overall and third this year to enact two-person crew legislation. The Illinois law is scheduled to take effect on Jan. 1, 2020.
The lawsuit, which also lists the Association of American Railroads and American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association as plaintiffs, was filed Sept. 30 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois Eastern Division.
- RRB: Credit for military service under the Railroad Retirement Act
- 2022 Tentative Agreement ratification results and next steps
- Split decision: Unions for engineers and conductors take different routes in freight rail contract ratification vote
- Balloting closes TONIGHT for tentative national rail agreement
- SMART-TD, BLET town hall yields facts about tentative agreement
- A message to veterans from President Ferguson
- Important update for all SMART-TD and BLET members included in national negotiations
- BLET, SMART-TD to host Town Hall meeting on November 9
- Update on SMART-TD balloting for National Rail Tentative Agreement
- Rule of 2 comment period extended by FRA to Dec. 21