Time for action in Minnesota! Let senators know about two-person crews

Published: May 20, 2019

The Minnesota House of Representatives has passed H.F. 286, Minimum Train Crew Requirement, a stand-alone version of two-person crew legislation.

The bill, sponsored by state Rep. Frank Hornstein, passed Wednesday, May 15, by a 78-52 vote along party lines with the DFL majority and several Republicans voting for the bill or abstaining. H.F. 286 now moves to the Minnesota Senate where state Sen. Scott Dibble is the chief author.

However, the route to passage into law is currently in the hands of H.F. 1555, the Transportation Omnibus bill, as Section 97.

“This legislative pathway remains our only viable way to passage into law this year,” said SMART TD Minnesota State Legislative Director Phillip Qualy. “We need the vocal support of members and retirees alike in the state in order to pass in the state Senate.”

Qualy encourages members, retirees and their friends and family to call or email the Republican state senators on the H.F. 1555 Conference Committee and ask them to pass Section 97, Minimum Train Crew Requirement this year. They can call and spell out the important public safety aspects and assistance to first responders that two-person crews provide in the case of a railroad emergency as well as general operations such as train securement, uncoupling road crossings, and local safety hazards in their area, Qualy said.

A list of key senators to be contacted appears below.

Minnesota residents largely understand that legislation requiring two people on a freight crew is key to safe railroad operations, according to Qualy and the Minnesota State Legislative Board, but the message might not be as clear for the legislators.

“We need all railroad workers standing together in support of this legislation,” he said. “We need all of our members and retirees to make your calls and emails today.”

The Minnesota Legislative Board’s submission to the Federal Railroad Administration on why train automation is a bad idea also spells out arguments about why two-person crews are important.

Members of the Minnesota State Senate who should be contacted include: