Thursday, August 6, 2015

FRA Publishes Train Securement Final Rule

Today the DOT’s Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) published a final rule in the Federal Register (80 FR 47349-47386) to amend the brake system safety standards (49 CFR 232) for freight and other non-passenger trains and equipment to strengthen the requirements relating to the securement of unattended equipment. This is the same rule that FRA announced a week ago. The notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) for this rule was published in September of last year.


This rule makes changes to §232.5 by adding a new term, moving a definition into this section, and changing a term without changing the definition. Those three terms are respectively

Yard {from yard limits also defined in §218.35(a) with a conflicting definition}.

Rule Coverage

A minor change in wording from the NPRM was made in the new §232.103(n)(6); the term ‘loaded tank car’ is used instead of ‘loaded freight car’. With this new wording, the new changes in securement requirements now applies to {new §232.103(n)(6)(i)}:

Any loaded tank car containing PIH material, including anhydrous ammonia and ammonia solutions; or
Twenty (20) or more loaded tank cars or loaded intermodal portable tanks of any one or any combination of PIH materials (including anhydrous ammonia and ammonia solutions), or any flammable gas, flammable or combustible liquid, explosives, or a hazardous substance listed at §173.31(f)(2) of this title.

For purposes of this rule rail cars containing a residue will not be considered in determining if a freight train is covered under the rule.

The Plan

The new rule includes basically the same plan requirements found in Emergency Order #28 which this rule supersedes. Railroads are still required to have the required plan in place before they can secure and leave unattended a covered train outside of a yard. There is only one change in the plan requirements:

The final rule allows a railroad to leave a train or equipment unattended on mainline track that is running through a yard or on mainline track that is adjacent to the yard without covering the location in the railroad's plan.

FRA still reserves the right to review such plans and direct changes in them when necessary. They still will not require the plans to be approved by FRA prior to their use.


There are some differences in the securement requirements in this rule and in the Emergency Order #28. The FRA has removed the specific requirement for railroads to “review, verify, and adjust, as necessary” the securement procedures to be employed in support of this rule. The FRA is also discontinuing the requirement from EO #28 of preparing a written verification of the securement procedure used on each unattended train.

A couple of changes were made from the proposed wording in the NPRM. One change is found in the revised §232.103(n)(1); The new language now makes it clear that at least one hand brake must be set on unattended trains. A change to §232.103(n)(2) removes the words ‘on a grade’ from the description of areas where air brakes cannot be relied upon to hold standing unattended equipment.

The discussion in the preamble seeks to clarify that the final rule requires all unattended covered trains to be secured in accordance with the new §232.103(n)(8). The exception for trains left unattended in yards or on mainlines adjacent to yards only applies to the plan requirements of the new §232.103(n)(7).

Effective Dates

The effective date for the requirements of this new rule is October 5th, 2015. Emergency Order #28 is rescinded on October 5th, 2015. Petitions for reconsideration must be received by September 25th, 2015. 

No comments:

/* Use this with templates/template-twocol.html */