SMART TD announces introduction of two-person train crew legislation

Published: January 17, 2017

Rep. Young

Washington, D.C. (Jan. 17, 2017) – SMART Transportation Division announced the re-introduction of the Safe Freight Act (H.R. 233) by Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska) and former Chairman of the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, which would require two crew members — one certified locomotive engineer and one certified conductor — on all freight trains.

H.R. 233  would require that “no freight train or light engine used in connection with the movement of freight may be operated unless it has a crew consisting of at least two individuals, one of whom is certified under regulations promulgated by the Federal Railroad Administration as a locomotive engineer pursuant to section 20135, and the other of whom is certified under regulations promulgated by the Federal Railroad Administration as a conductor pursuant to section 20163.” The newly-introduced legislation mirrors H.R. 1763, which received 69 bipartisan co-sponsors last year prior to conclusion of the 114th Congress. A copy of H.R. 1763 can be found here.

“SMART Transportation Division has been working tirelessly to promote safety in the railroad industry. There is no doubt that the safest rail operation is a two-person crew operation. After several major train derailments, we must send a clear message to our lawmakers and the general public that multi-person crews are essential to ensuring the safest rail operations possible in their communities. I would like to thank Congressman Young for his leadership on this critical issue as we continue improve safety on our nation’s railroads for both our members and the general public,” said SMART Transportation Division President John Previsich.

Last year, SMART Transportation Division repeatedly urged the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) to finalize a rule requiring two-person minimum crews on trains. On June 15, 2016, SMART TD submitted comments in response to the FRA initial proposed rule. On August 5, 2016, SMART TD submitted additional comments expressing concerns about potential loopholes that would allow the operation of certain trains with fewer than two people.

Last July, SMART TD National Legislative Director John Risch testified before the FRA outlining the justification for a minimum two-person crew requirement. A copy of his testimony can be found here.

Visit our Legislative Action Center and ask your representatives to support H.R. 233.