Railroads File Federal Appeals To Keep One-Person Crews

Four railroads filed in federal appeals courts to throw out a new rule that would require two-person train crews in most circumstances, calling the mandate “arbitrary, capricious and an illegal abuse of discretion.” Plus, you know, more expensive than winging it with one crew member! Via the U.S. News and World Report:

The identical challenges of the Federal Railroad Administration’s rule were all filed this week in different appellate courts on behalf of Union Pacific, BNSF and two short line railroads — the Indiana Railroad and Florida East Coast Railway.

The new federal requirement, announced last week, was a milestone in organized labor’s long fight to preserve the practice and came amid increasing scrutiny into railroad safety, especially in the wake of the fiery February 2023 derailment in eastern Ohio.

Most of those railroads didn’t immediately offer additional explanation for why they don’t like the rule, but the industry has long opposed such a regulation and the Association of American Railroads trade group said last week that the rule was unfounded and not supported by safety data. The Indiana Railroad — like many short lines across the country — already operates with one-person crews, but the major freight railroads all have two-person crews that their union contracts require.

As we learned last year, the railroads hate pretty much anything that makes workers safer because it costs them money:

The head of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen union Eddie Hall said this legal challenge is just another sign the railroads “place profits over safety.” He said keeping two people in the locomotive won’t keep railroads from investing in new technology, and the industry should focus on improving safety.

“This move by the railroads was predictable. The railroads and their trade association appeal every safety reform,” Hall said.

Railroads have long argued that the size of train crews should be determined by contract talks, not regulators or lawmakers, because they maintain there is not enough data to show two-person crews are safer. Current safety stats can’t show how safe one-person crews are because all the major railroads have two-person crews now.

The new rule does include an exception that would allow short line railroads to continue operating with one-person crews if they have been doing it for more than two years and have a plan to ensure safety. But the rule would make it difficult for any railroads to cut their crews down to one person.

Source link

About The Author

Scroll to Top