Notice of Intent To Grant a Buy America Waiver To the Illinois Department of Transportation for the Use of Sure Close Self-Closing Force Adjustable Gate Hinges
FRA is issuing this notice to advise the public that it intends to grant the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) a waiver from FRA's Buy America requirement for the use of 250 Sure Close gate hinges, which are manufactured in Italy. FRA believes a waiver is appropriate because, despite IDOT's best efforts to develop a domestic source for these hinges, domestically-produced gate hinges for pedestrian crossings meeting IDOT's safety specifications and schedule needs remain unavailable in the United States.
Proposed Agency Information Collection Activities; Comment Request
In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 and its implementing regulations, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) hereby announces that it is seeking renewal of the following currently approved information collection activities. Before submitting these information collection requests (ICRs) for clearance by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), FRA is soliciting public comment on specific aspects of the activities identified below.
Proposed Agency Information Collection Activities; Comment Request
In compliance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, this notice announces that the Information Collection Requests (ICRs) abstracted below are being forwarded to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and comment. The ICRs describes the nature of the information collections and their expected burdens. The Federal Register notice with a 60-day comment period soliciting comments on the following collections of information was published on March 3, 2015 (80 FR 11518).
Best Practices for Designing Vision Field Tests for Locomotive Engineers or Conductors
FRA is issuing this interim interpretation to clarify provisions in its locomotive engineer and conductor qualification and certification regulations with respect to vision standards and testing. In particular, this document addresses further evaluation of persons who do not meet the vision threshold criteria provided for in those regulations, and provides best practices guidance for designing valid, reliable, and comparable vision field tests for assessing whether persons who do not meet those thresholds can perform safely as locomotive engineers and conductors.
Information and Guidance on the Inspection, Testing, and Maintenance of Emergency Window Exits on Railroad Passenger Cars
FRA has become aware of occurrences when emergency window exits on passenger cars did not operate as intended because the emergency pull handle became detached from the window gasket when pulled, the gasket tore into multiple pieces, or the gasket was otherwise difficult to remove. While investigating these occurrences, FRA discovered that some railroads were not following, or did not clearly understand, the existing Federal regulations on the inspection, testing, and maintenance (ITM) of these window exits, particularly the requirement that a railroad must utilize a test sampling method that conforms with a formalized statistical test method. FRA does not believe any of these occurrences involved passengers or precluded passengers from opening a window in an emergency situation. However, in light of these concerns, FRA is issuing this document to provide information and guidance to railroads operating passenger train service on the existing regulatory requirements regarding ITM of emergency window exits.
Notice of Intent to Grant a Buy America Waiver to the National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak) for the Use of Eight (8) Non-Domestic Components in Tier III High-Speed Rail Trainsets
: FRA is issuing this notice to advise the public that it intends to grant Amtrak a waiver from FRA's Buy America policy for the use of eight components of Tier III high-speed rail (HSR) trainsets.
Addressing Rail Head Surface Conditions Identified During the Internal Rail Inspection Process
On February 16, 2015, a derailment occurred in West Virginia due to a broken rail that resulted from an internal rail defect, specifically a vertical split head (VSH). Although rail flaw detection equipment had indicated rail flaw conditions at the location of the failure in December 2014 and January 2015, the operator of the equipment failed to carry out an on-ground examination of the defect. The operator later claimed that he believed the reading on the monitor was a false-positive due to rail head surface conditions. FRA believes that if the operator better understood the indications for various rail flaw conditions, including the rough rail surface conditions he was to look for and properly identified the rail flaw indications, the operator would have reported the defect to the track owner. Upon reporting, the track owner would have been alerted to its duty under the Track Safety Standards (49 CFR part 213) to take remedial action (either repair or replacement of the rail or reduction of the maximum authorized train speed over the rail to the specified level). Had the track owner then taken proper remedial action, that action may have prevented the broken rail and the derailment. In response, FRA is issuing this Safety Advisory No. 2015-05 to remind track owners (typically railroads), their track maintenance personnel, and their rail flaw detection equipment operators of the importance of complying with their rail management programs and engineering procedures that address rail with rail head surface conditions while performing rail flaw inspections and track inspections generally. This is particularly vital on track carrying passengers and hazardous materials due to the catastrophic consequences that may result from a derailment. This Safety Advisory also contains recommendations to track owners to ensure their rail flaw detection equipment operators are properly trained and exercise due diligence when a rail head surface condition interferes with a valid rail inspection.
Environmental Impact Statement for the Washington Union Station Expansion Project
FRA is issuing this notice to advise the public that FRA will prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to evaluate the potential impacts to the human and natural environment of the Washington Union Station Expansion Project (Project) proposed by the Union Station Redevelopment Corporation (USRC) in coordination with the National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak). The Project includes expanding and modernizing the multimodal transportation facilities at Washington Union Station, while preserving the historically significant station building. FRA is preparing this EIS in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). FRA will evaluate reasonable alternatives for the proposed Project, including a No Action (No Build) Alternative. FRA is issuing this notice to solicit public and agency input into the scope of the EIS and to advise the public that outreach activities conducted by FRA, USRC, and its representatives will be considered in the preparation of the EIS. To ensure all significant issues are identified and considered, the public is invited to comment on the scope of the EIS, including the purpose and need, alternatives to be considered, impacts to be evaluated, and methodologies to be used in the evaluation.