Digest: Canadian government sets rules for locomotive video, voice recorders

News Wire Digest second section for Sept. 4: Metrolink gets Tier 4 certification for F125s, introduces new flex pass
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A Metrolink F125 is in push mode on an inbound train at Burbank, Calif., in February 2019. Metrolink announced the loomotives have received Tier 4 certification.
TRAINS: David Lassen

More Friday morning rail news:

Canadian government sets rules for in-cab voice, video recorders

Most railroads in Canada have two years to install “black box” video and voice recorders on their locomotives according to regulations published by the Canadian government, a requirement that has a rail union voicing concerns about worker privacy. The CBC reports the regulations published Wednesday in the Canada Gazette (available here) require railroads to install the devices if they earned $250 million gross revenues and operate more than 8 kilometers in Canada; have more than 15 employees, operate more than 32 kilometers with at least one train that goes faster than 40 kilometers per hour (25 mph) and handles more than 10% of its gross ton-miles in Canada; or operates a passenger service. Steam locomotives, tourist-only railroads, trains traveling under 40 kph, yard engines, or equipment to be retired by February 2024 are exempt. A spokesman for Teamsters Rail Conference Canada, which represents 16,000 workers says the government regulations “represent a grotesque invasion of workers' privacy which would essentially see Canadian railroaders monitored 24/7 by employers who could easily abuse recordings to spy on railroaders, nitpick and ultimately discipline them and get rid of employees they don't like.” The union says it does not object to the equipment if it us used only by Transport Canada and the Transportation Safety Board.

Metrolink locomotives receive Tier 4 certification
Tier 4 certification has been completed for the EMD F125 locomotives of Los Angeles-area commuter railroad Metrolink. In a press release, the agency says the certification by the California Air Resources Board shows that the diesels continue to meet the Tier 4 environmental standards even after being in service for an extended period of time. At the time of certification for testing, the locomotives had logged more than 100,000 miles of operation. “As the first passenger railroad in the nation to invest in and successfully implement Tier 4 technology, we recognize this verification is critical in affirming our commitment to accelerating a zero-emissions future,” Metrolink board chairman Brian Humphrey said in the release. Metrolink has 37 of the 40 F125 locomotives in use after a lengthy and occasionally bumpy process that began with delivery of the first unit in July 2016. The last three are expected to be in operation this fall.

Metrolink introduces five-day flex pass
Metrolink has also introduced a new five-day flex rail pass, good for five days of travel in a 30-day period at a 10% discount. The new pass is a reflection of changing work patterns in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has seen many workers now telecommuting and making fewer regular trips to an office. The pass is available exclusively on Metrolink’s smartphone app, and is being offered for a six-month trial period. More information is available here.



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