Local 306

      Serving Sioux City, Mason City & Eagle Grove on UPRR (Former C&NW)


Vacation Buyback - 4/12/2018

Message from the General Chairman regarding vacation buyback.  Click on the box to view.

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Let FRA know what you think about automating trains - 4/9/2018

Let FRA know what you think about automating trains

Published: April 9, 2018

The FRA needs to hear from YOU to STOP Self-Driving Trains!

The Federal Railroad Administration has released a request for information (RFI) about autonomous (aka self-driving/zero-person crew) trains.

“FRA requests information and comment on the future of automation in the railroad industry. FRA is interested in hearing from industry stakeholders, the public, local and State governments, and any other interested parties on the potential benefits, costs, risks, and challenges to implementing automated railroad operations. FRA also seeks comment on how the agency can best support the railroad industry’s development and implementation of new and emerging technologies in automation that could lead to safety improvements or increased efficiencies in railroad operations.”

As professionals in this industry, and as concerned citizens about public safety, we need to voice our concerns. The FRA has given us a chance to speak up and we need to take it!

Tell them why autonomous trains are a threat to public safety. You can also remind them of the critical duties of Conductors and Locomotive Engineers.

Speak your mind.

SMART members, now is the time to use our voices to make an impression and weigh in BIG on this issue. Your response is needed!

It only takes a minute. Click on the the link below and tell the FRA why you think autonomous trains are WRONG! Then, forward the link to your family and friends and encourage them to do the same.

https://www.regulations.gov/comment?D=FRA-2018-0027-0003

You only have until May 7 to make your voice heard!

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Norfolk Southern sues crew involved in collision - 4/6/2018

Norfolk Southern sues crew involved in collision

Norfolk Southern has sued in federal court an engineer and conductor who were aboard a freight train than collided with another NS train last month in Scott County, Ky.

According to the Lexington Herald-Leader, the suit claims the crew ignored a signal and failed to reduce the speed of their moving train and prevent the March 18 collision with a stopped train.

NS’s lawsuit seeks compensation from the crew for damages caused by the collision, which destroyed two locomotives and caused 13 cars to derail, the newspaper reported.

Read the full story at the Lexington Herald-Leader’s website.

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NTSB issues urgent safety recommendations - 2/15/2018

NTSB issues urgent safety recommendations

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) issued three urgent safety recommendations to the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), acting upon the agency’s findings in two ongoing railroad accident investigations.

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) received one urgent safety recommendation based on NTSB findings in the agency’s investigation of the Feb. 4, 2018, collision of an Amtrak train and a CSX train near Cayce, S.C. The conductor and engineer of the Amtrak train died as a result of the collision. The NTSB issued two urgent safety recommendations to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) based on findings from its investigation of the June 10, 2017, Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) accident in which a roadway worker died near Queens Village, N.Y.

In the investigation of the train collision in Cayce, South Carolina, investigators found that on the day before the accident, CSX personnel suspended the traffic control signal system to install updated traffic control system components for the implementation of positive train control (PTC). The lack of signals required dispatchers to use track warrants to move trains through the work territory.

In this accident, and in a similar March 14, 2016, accident in Granger, Wyo., safe movement of the trains, through the signal suspension, depended upon proper switch alignment. That switch alignment relied on error-free manual work, which was not safeguarded by either technology or supervision, creating a single point of failure.

The NTSB concludes additional measures are needed to ensure safe operations during signal suspension and so issued an urgent safety recommendation to the FRA seeking an emergency order directing restricted speed for trains or locomotives passing through signal suspensions when a switch has been reported relined for a main track.

“The installation of the life-saving positive train control technology on the CSX tracks is not the cause of the Cayce, S.C. train collision,” said NTSB Chairman Robert Sumwalt.

“While the collision remains under investigation, we know that signal suspensions are an unusual operating condition, used for signal maintenance, repair and installation, that have the potential to increase the risk of train collisions. That risk was not mitigated in the Cayce collision. Our recommendation, if implemented, works to mitigate that increased risk.” said Sumwalt.

During the investigation of the LIRR accident, the NTSB identified an improper practice by LIRR roadway workers who were working on or near the tracks. LIRR employees were using “train approach warning” as their method of on-track safety, but they did not clear the track, as required, when trains approached and their “predetermined place of safety” did not comply with LIRR rules and procedures.

The NTSB is concerned LIRR management is overlooking and therefore normalizing noncompliance with safety rules and regulations for proper clearing of tracks while using “train approach warning” for worker protection. The two urgent safety recommendations to the MTA call for MTA to audit LIRR’s use of “train approach warning” for worker protection, and, to implement corrective action for deficiencies found through the audit.

The full safety recommendation reports for these urgent safety recommendations are available online at https://goo.gl/z87Dpz and https://goo.gl/LVVef3.

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NTSB finds nearly identical cause of two commuter rail accidents - 2/6/2018

NTSB finds nearly identical cause of two commuter rail accidents

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) determined that two commuter railroad terminal accidents in the New York area were caused by engineer fatigue resulting from undiagnosed severe obstructive sleep apnea.

The Sept. 29, 2016, accident on the New Jersey Transit railroad at Hoboken, New Jersey, killed one person, injured 110, and resulted in major damage to the station. The Jan. 4, 2017, accident on the Long Island Rail Road at the Atlantic Terminal in Brooklyn, New York, injured 108 people. Both accidents involved trains that struck end-of-track bumping posts and crashed into stations.

The NTSB found the two accidents had “almost identical” probable causes and safety issues. The board also determined that these safety issues were not unique to these two properties, but exist throughout the country at many intercity passenger and commuter passenger train terminals.

When operating a train into a terminating track, the engineer’s actions, or lack thereof, solely determine whether the train stops before the end of the track. According to the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), there are currently no mechanisms installed in the U.S. that will automatically stop a train at the end of the track if the engineer is incapacitated, inattentive or disengaged. Some railroads have overspeed capabilities, including New Jersey Transit and the LIRR. However, as shown in these two accidents, once the engineer slowed the train to the prescribed speed, the system did not stop the trains before they reached the end of the track.

In addition to recommending safety-sensitive personnel be screened for obstructive sleep apnea, the board recommended the use of technology, such as positive train control (PTC), in terminal stations and improving the effectiveness of system safety program plans to improve terminal operations. The NTSB made two recommendations to New Jersey Transit, and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (the parent company of the Long Island Rail Road) and two to the FRA.

“Today’s new recommendations, if acted upon, have the potential to eliminate end-of-track collisions,’’ Sumwalt said. “That translates to protection for passengers on trains, and for people standing on terminal platforms.”

The complete accident report will be available in several weeks. The findings, probable cause, safety recommendations, Chairman Sumwalt’s prepared remarks and PowerPoint presentations used in a board meeting are all available at https://go.usa.gov/xnscj.

The New Jersey Transit Hoboken accident docket, containing more than 1,100 pages of supporting factual material, is available at https://go.usa.gov/xnAGJ.

The Long Island Rail Road Brooklyn accident docket, containing more than 1,400 pages of supporting factual material, is available at https://go.usa.gov/xnAGe.

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SMART-TD Local 306

 

Your Local Officers are here to protect you - help us all by calling when assistance is needed!  Don't settle for the carrier's attitutude - be involved!  A time claim is used to correct a violation of your contract - take the time to enter them and turn them in!

 

No job is so important, no service so urgent, that we cannot take the time to perform our work safely!

 

YOUR Union Meetings are:

Eagle Grove - Official Local Monthly Meeting - 2nd Wednesday of each Month; Godfather's Pizza at 18:30

Sioux City - 2nd Tuesday in February, May, August, November; Ramada Inn at 11:00

Mason City - as needed