AAR balks at two-person crew legislation

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WASHINGTON — The Association of American Railroads says it will fight legislation introduced by U.S. Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, that would require two crew members on all freight trains.

On Jan. 17, the Republican Congressman joined Sheet Metal, Air, Rail, and Transportation Workers' Transportation Division officials by re-introducing the Smart Freight Act that would require one certified locomotive engineer and one certified conductor on all fright trains. Young previously introduced the same bill in 2013 and 2015 but it failed to get off the ground both times. The bill was initially a reaction to the deadly Lac-Mègantic, Quebec, oil train wreck in 2013.

“SMART has been working tirelessly to promote safety in the railroad industry,” says Transportation Division President John Previsich. “There is no doubt that the safest rail operation is a two-person crew operation. After several major train derailments, we must send a clear message to our lawmakers and the general public that multi-person crews are essential to ensuring the safest rail operations possible in their communities.”

But railroads disagree and they have been vocal in their opposition to efforts by the Federal Railroad Administration to implement a two-person crew rule.

"...[T]here are no data showing that having a two-person crew provides any safety benefit to railroads, their employees or the public," AAR representative Kristin Clarkson tells Trains News Wire. "The AAR believes that any proposed rules or laws calling for two-person crews are misguided and will undermine its goal of making a safe rail network even safer.”

NEWSWIRETrains News Wire

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