Jan. 21, 2005 - After closely examining state railroad statutes and the federal regulatory scheme for railroads, the Commission has concluded that there are questions relating to its authority to adopt rules governing the point protection practices of railroad companies in Washington, and has therefore cancelled the adoption hearing set for Jan. 26, and withdrawn this rulemaking. (Docket 040151, see links at the bottom of this page for more details.)
During a recent remote control locomotive rulemaking, it became apparent that protecting the leading end of the train (or "point protection") was a general safety concern. According to information provided by stakeholders during that rulemaking, the greatest need for point protection is at grade crossings and where trains may enter mainline tracks. Such safety concerns are involved in all types of train moves, not just moves made by remote control trains.
After reviewing the Grade Crossing Operation Rules filed with the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and internal rules adopted by railroad companies, UTC railroad safety staff drafted language for a general point protection rule to be enforced by the commission. Stakeholders submitted additional comments in May and October.
In reaching its conclusion that railroad laws don't give it authority to adopt this rule, the Commission considered comments submitted by railroads and Engineers' union, and reviewed Washington's statutory history.
Staff contact: Mike Rowswell
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