Hoeven: Federal Railway Administration Strengthens Inspection Standards, Procedures

BISMARCK, N.D. – Senator John Hoeven today announced that the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has issued new rules to improve track inspections and enhance railway safety. The FRA has amended the Federal Track Safety Standards to enhance the process by which it detects flaws in the rails by establishing minimum qualification requirements for rail flaw detection equipment operators, as well as enhancing requirements for more frequent rail inspections, remedial actions when flaws are detected and rail inspection records. As a member of the Appropriations Committee, Hoeven is working to support their effort by securing more resources for inspectors at both the FRA and the Pipeline Safety and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA).

“The Casselton derailment has highlighted the need for improved rail inspections as one part of a comprehensive plan to improve rail safety for our communities,” Hoeven said. “We are working with all responsible agencies, as well as the industry, to make sure that we advance the effort. The FRA’s rule change is a good step forward as we continue to press for the smart, long-term measures that will improve rail safety, including the need to advance long-overdue standards for building new tank cars with greater safety features."

The FRA’s announced rule changes follow an ongoing review process that began in October 2012. During the past few years, Hoeven has been working closely with the various federal, state and local officials responsible for rail safety, including the FRA, U.S. Department of Transportation, Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration and National Transportation Safety Board, to push for the speedy and effective implementation of long-overdue policies needed to prevent rail accidents.

The FRA’s new rules are available here.