FRA Steps Up Passenger Rail Emergency Preparedness Regs

The proposal published on June 27 will clarify which personnel must receive periodic training and also says railroads’ preparedness plans must address the safe evacuation of people with disabilities.

Adjusting regulations it originally issued in 1998, the Federal Railroad Administration has published a proposed rule that clarifies which passenger rail personnel must receive initial and periodic training because they communicate and coordinate with emergency responders. The rule also clarifies that passenger railroads must include procedures for safely evacuating people with disabilities in their emergency response plans.

FRA said the rule is based on language developed by the General Passenger Safety Task Force, a subgroup of FRA's Railroad Safety Advisory Committee.

It will accept comments on the proposal for 60 days but said in the NPRM that it expects to complete the rulemaking without holding a public hearing. The NPRM says FRA issued this rule because it learned some passenger railroads were unsure which employees needed to be trained or operationally tested.

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