Digest: Canada announces major change in train crew work rules

News Wire Digest third section for Nov. 25: Maryland, builders reach settlement over Purple Line project
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Wednesday evening rail news:

Transport Canada makes major revisions to crew work rules

Transport Canada has updated its rules regarding fatigue rules for railroad workers, placing new limits on the length of a work period and the number of hours that can be worked in a week or motnh, while increasing the length of minimum rest periods between shifts. Minister of Transport Marc Garneau announced the changes on Wednesday, calling the rules “a historic improvement over the existing framework” and saying they “incorporate modern and evidence-based fatigue management principles to a whole sector of the transportation industry.” The new rules place a 12-hour limit on a single work shift (the previous limit had been 16 hours), and institute limits of 60 hours in a seven-day period, 192 hours in a 28-day period, and 2,500 hours per year. Previoulsy, there had been no weekly, monthly, or annual limits. The rules also require 12 hours rest for workers at home and 10 hours away from home. A full list of the changes is available here. Canadian railroads must complete fatigue management plans within 12 months and implement their fitness for duty provisions within 24 months.

Maryland, builders settle Purple Line dispute
Maryland has settled its long-running dispute over construction of the light rail Purple Line, with the state’s Department of Transportation agreeing to pay $250 million toward a dispute over cost overrun, while salvaging the public-private partnership with two of the companies involved in the building and operating consortium. The Baltimore Sun reports the agreement would end all litigation, allowing construction to resume, and retain the involvement of contractors Meridiam and Star American. Primary builder Fluor Corp. will be replaced. The consortium, Purple Line Transit Partners, quit the project in September over what it said were some $800 million in overruns for the much-delayed 16-mile, 21-station project [see “ ]. If the agreement is approved, the two remaining companies would solicit bids for a design-built firm to replace Fluor. Unclear is when construction might resume or how much the dispute will have set completion of the project.

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