Digest: Canada revises cold-weather rules for hazardous-material trains

News Wire Digest for Nov. 9: CSX asks to remove automatic train control on former RF&P; Caltrain to close Atherton station
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Monday morning rail news:

Canada revises rules on cold-weather speed restrictions for hazardous-material trains

Canada’s Minister of Transport on Friday issued an order modifying previous rules regarding train operation in cold weather, basing the new rule on temperatures rather than a winter date range. As with the previous rule, issued in April [see “Canada issues new rules on hazardous material trains …,” Trains News Wire, April 5, 2020], the revised rule issued by Minister Marc Garneau places speed restrictions on trains based on the type and number of hazardous-material loads in the train consist. The new rules set speed limits for higher-risk key trains — those carrying crude oil or liquefied petroleum gas in blocks of 20 or more cars or a total of 35 or more cars — at 50 mph outside of metropolitan areas in signaled territory; within metropolitan areas, the speed limit is 30 mph above minus-25 degrees Celcius and 25 mph at or below minus-25. In non-signaled territory, there are four speed limits ranging from 25 to 50 mph, depending on temperature (above or at or below minus-15 Celcius), within or outside metropolitan areas, and the presence of broken rail detectors. Details are available here.

CSX asks to remove automatic train control on former RF&P
CSX Transportation has petitioned the Federal Railroad Administration to discontinue the use of automatic train control on the railroad’s RF&P Subdivision — the former Richmond, Fredericksburg & Potomac — between Richmond and Washington, D.C. A notice published by the FRA says discontinuing the use of ATC will standardize operation for all cab-signal-equipped locomotives across the CSX system, and that the cab signal system will still stop trains if an operator does not acknowledge a signal, thanks to the implementation of Ineroperatable Electronic Train Management System (I-ETMS) positive train control on the route in October 2018. The full FRA notice, published last week in the Federal Register, is available here. The comment period on the request runs through Dec. 21, 2020.

Caltrain to close weekend-only Atherton station
Caltrain’s board of directors has voted to close its Atherton, Calif., station, a lightly used facility which currently sees only weekend service. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the train was served by one train every 90 minutes on weekends and handled an average of 114 passengers per weekend day. Weekday service had previously been eliminated in 2005. The facility is limited by a design that requires trains traveling in one direction during passenger boarding for trains in the opposite direction; upgrading the facility to modern standards, needed for planned service expansions when the route is electrified, would have cost $30 million.

 

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