FRA gives findings from Metra safety assessment

October 17, 2014

FRA_logo_words WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) today announced the findings and recommendations from its focused safety assessment of Chicago’s Metra. The assessment finds Metra to be generally compliant with federal safety regulations, but also directs the commuter railroad to take immediate steps to enhance its safety culture, which is an area of concern, and to better utilize safety technology.

“Safety is our highest priority and after three serious safety incidents on Metra within a seven day period, we proactively intervened,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “Our safety assessment identifies specific actions Metra should take to address risks to improve the safety of all passengers.”

FRA identified and prioritized specific safety concerns and actions Metra should take to mitigate them:

  • Empower conductors to prioritize the safety of operations over collecting fares, on-time performance and customer service;
  • Ensure heightened crew interactions during higher risk operations;
  • Establish new procedures to strengthen the flow of information between operating lines and Metra headquarters;
  • Add technical skills training for managers;
  • Add safety measures and procedures that would provide a level of safety redundancy to protect crossover movements;
  • Implement a Confidential Close Call Reporting System (C3RS); and
  • Immediately prioritize the acquisition, testing and installation of Positive Train Control

(PTC) systems that monitor and control train movements to provide increased safety.

“Continuous safety improvement must be the goal of every railroad,” said Federal Railroad Administrator Joseph C. Szabo. “The roadmap we’ve laid out for Metra today is an opportunity for them to renew their commitment to safety and win back the faith of the traveling public.”

FRA announced the launch of the safety assessment on June 6, 2014 after three serious incidents occurred between May 27, 2014, and June 3, 2014, that resulted in the decertification of three Metra locomotive engineers. Review the entire report on Metra. Read our original announcement of the Metra Safety Assessment.

FRA’s strategy for continuous safety improvement is founded on three pillars: a rigorous oversight and inspection program based on strategic use of data; advancing proactive approaches for early identification and mitigation of risk; and capital investments and a robust research and development program.