Today the Federal Railroad Administration published a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) in the Federal Register (77 FR 73589-73608) that would revise some current regulations concerning the implementation of positive train control (PTC) systems. The NPRM addresses some of the concerns of the Association of American Railroads (AAR) expressed in their petition for rulemaking.
Some of the proposed rules would directly affect the transportation of toxic inhalation hazard (TIH) or poison inhalation hazard (PIH) chemicals by railroads. Those provisions include:
• Modifying the specific exception to raise the number of freight cars containing PIH materials from 100 cars to 200 cars;
• Removing the traffic limitation of 15 million gross tons from the general de minimis exception in paragraph (b)(4)(iii)(C); and
• Adding a yard movement de minimis exception that would authorize movements by unequipped locomotives over PTC-equipped main line track segments for the purpose of switching service or transfer train movements.
The FRA is soliciting public comments on this proposed rule. Such comments may be submitted via the Federal eRulemaking Portal (www.Regulations.gov; Docket # FRA-2011-0061). Those comments need to be filed by February 11th, 2013. The FRA does not currently plan to hold any public meetings concerning this NPRM, but will consider requests for such meetings if submitted by January 10th, 2013.