The DOT’s Federal Railroad Administration is publishing a copy of Emergency Order #30 in Monday’s Federal Register (84 FR 23321-23326; available on-line Saturday) more than a week after it was published on the DOT web site. This causes an interesting issue with effective dates; the document says that it takes effect immediately and must be implemented by April 24th, 2015, three days before its publication in the Federal Register. The FRA obviously provided the railroads directly with a copy of the EO when it was originally published so this isn’t a real problem; it just looks like one.
I have discussed the provisions of this emergency order and the Canadian counterpart that was issued this week. The Canadian directive extends the lower speed limit to a much smaller cities than does this emergency order. While that difference may just reflect differences in population density, in the United States this means that there are many more ‘large’ urban areas that are not protected by this order than are.
Again, the FRA is not soliciting public comments on this Emergency Order, not unexpected since they have already made their safety determinations on this matter. It will, however, be interesting to see how much of this shows up in the HHFT final rule expected out in just a little over two weeks now.