Union Pacific Taking Applications for Safety Grants

The UP CARES program began in 2013. It supports community-owned railroad safety initiatives.

Union Pacific is accepting applications through Sept. 30 for its UP CARES safety grant program. Begun in 2013, it funded 21 community-owned railroad safety initiatives that year. Initiatives may include school safety days, grade crossing educational programs, or law enforcement activities, according to the company’s announcement.

"By encouraging communities to be active participants in railroad safety, we can help drivers and pedestrians understand how to behave safely near railroad tracks and keep our communities safe," said Cameron Scott, Union Pacific’s executive vice president-Operations. The online grant application is available at UnionPacificCares.com.

Meanwhile, the Federal Railroad Administration is accepting comments on a Union Pacific request filed in May 2014 for a waiver of compliance for three federal rail safety regulations: sections 232.205—Class I brake test-initial terminal inspection, 229.21—Daily inspection, and Part 215—Freight Car Standards. The railroad wants to movement from the FXE interchange point at International Yard on the Lordsburg Subdivision to UP's Dallas Street Yard for westbound traffic, a distance of 2.8 miles, and to the UP Alfalfa Yard for eastbound traffic, a distance of 7 miles,without complying with these regulations. "UP currently receives three trains traveling north from Mexico (two auto trains and one manifest train with intermodal cars) and delivers three trains south to Mexico (two manifest trains and one auto train) on a daily basis through the El Paso, TX, River International Yard. Recently, there have been reports of gunfire heard across the border. These reported gunshots are within close proximity to UP employees and contractors. Moreover, many Federal employees, including U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents, U.S. Department of Agriculture Inspecting agents, and FRA inspectors work in the area as well. UP stated that the requested waiver will have no adverse effect on the safety of operations and will greatly reduce risks associated with these operations. UP further stated that FRA granted agreements allowing trains to be moved several miles without Class 1 air brake tests at other cross-border gateways with similar risks," FRA's notice states.

FRA will consider comments received by Sept. 2 before taking final action.

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