Railroad Safety Advisory Committee; Notice of Meeting Postponement
FRA recently announced the forty-eighth meeting of the RSAC, a Federal Advisory Committee that develops railroad safety regulations through a consensus process (77 FR 73734). This meeting has been postponed until further notice and will be rescheduled at a future date.
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 approval of the following proposed information collection activities. Before submitting this proposed information collection request (ICR) for clearance by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), FRA is soliciting public comment on specific aspects of the activities identified below.
Locomotive Safety Standards
This document responds to eight petitions for reconsideration received in relation to FRA's final rule, published on April 9, 2012, which revised the existing regulations containing safety standards for locomotives. In response to the petitions, this document amends and clarifies certain sections of the final rule.
Railroad Safety Advisory Committee; Notice of Meeting
FRA announces the forty-eighth meeting of the RSAC, a Federal Advisory Committee that develops railroad safety regulations through a consensus process. The RSAC meeting topics will include opening remarks from the FRA Administrator and status reports will be provided by the Fatigue Management, Rail Failure, and Risk Reduction Working Groups. Status reports will also be provided by the Engineering and System Safety Task Forces. This agenda is subject to change, including the possible addition of further proposed tasks under the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (RSIA).
Northeast Corridor Safety Committee; Notice of Meeting
FRA announces the third meeting of the NECSC, a Federal Advisory Committee mandated by Section 212 of the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act of 2008 (PRIIA). The Committee is made up of stakeholders operating on the Northeast Corridor (NEC), and the purpose of the Committee is to provide annual recommendations to the Secretary of Transportation. The NECSC meeting topics will include: Status of the frequency spectrum recommendation to the Secretary of Transportation, impacts of Hurricane Sandy on NEC infrastructure and lessons learned, and a general discussion of safety issues.
Positive Train Control Systems (RRR)
FRA proposes amendments to regulations implementing a requirement of the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008 that certain passenger and freight railroads install positive train control (PTC) systems. The proposal would revise the regulatory provisions related to the de minimis exception to the installation of PTC systems generally, and more specifically, its application to yard-related movements. The proposal would also revise the existing regulations related to en route failures of a PTC system and discontinuances of signal systems once a PTC system is installed and make additional technical amendments to regulations governing grade crossing warning systems and signal systems, including PTC systems.
Adjustment of Monetary Threshold for Reporting Rail Equipment Accidents/Incidents for Calendar Year 2013
This rule increases the rail equipment accident/incident reporting threshold from $9,500 to $9,900 for certain railroad accidents/incidents involving property damage that occur during calendar year 2013. This action is needed to ensure that FRA's reporting requirements reflect cost increases that have occurred since the reporting threshold was last published in November of 2011.
Revised Guidance for Requesting One-Time Movement Approvals (OTMA)
FRA is notifying the public of the availability of revised guidance for requesting one-time movement approvals (OTMA) for the transportation by rail of nonconforming or leaking bulk hazardous materials packages.
System Safety Program
By notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) published on September 7, 2012, FRA proposed regulations to require commuter and intercity passenger railroads to develop and implement a system safety program (SSP) to improve the safety of their operations. The comment period for the NPRM closed November 6, 2012. This document reopens the comment period until December 7, 2012.
Notice and Request for Comments
In compliance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, this notice announces that the Information Collection Requirements (ICRs) abstracted below have been forwarded to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and comment. The ICRs describe 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 September 20, 2012.
Notice of Availability for Public Review of the Draft Tier 1 Environmental Impact Statement for the Chicago, IL, to Omaha, NE, Regional Passenger Rail System Study
FRA is issuing this Notice to advise the public that a Draft Tier 1 Environmental Impact Statement (Tier 1 EIS) has been prepared for the Chicago to Omaha Regional Passenger Rail System Planning Study (Study). The Tier 1 EIS was prepared pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA); FRA's Procedures for Considering Environmental Impacts (Environmental Procedures); and guidelines published by the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) on implementing NEPA. The Study includes both a Tier 1 EIS and a Service Development Plan. FRA is the lead federal agency and the Iowa Department of Transportation (Iowa DOT) is the joint-lead state agency for the environmental review process. For passenger rail projects, this Tier 1 EIS focuses on broad corridor and service level issues, while subsequent Tier 2 analyses will focus on the details of a specific project or action. Iowa DOT proposes to establish high-speed passenger rail service between Chicago, Illinois, through Iowa, to Omaha, Nebraska. The proposed project would provide an alternative to automobile, bus, and air travel by decreasing travel times, increasing frequency of service, improving reliability (particularly in inclement weather), providing an efficient transportation option, and providing amenities to improve passenger ride quality and comfort. The project would also promote environmental benefits, including reduced air pollutant emissions, improved land use options, and fewer adverse impacts to the surrounding habitat and water resources. The Tier 1 EIS presents the proposed project's purpose and need, identifies reasonable alternatives, describes the affected environment, and analyzes the potential environmental impacts of the alternatives considered, including the no-build alternative.
Notice of Availability of a Final Tier 1 Environmental Impact Statement, for the Chicago, IL to St. Louis, MO High Speed Rail Corridor Program and Tier 2 Evaluation for the Springfield Rail Improvements Project
FRA is issuing this notice to advise the public that a Final Environmental Impact Statement (Final EIS) has been prepared for the Chicago, Illinois to St. Louis, Missouri High Speed Rail Corridor Program. The Final EIS includes a Tier 1 corridor evaluation for the Chicago, Illinois to St. Louis, Missouri high-speed rail corridor and a Tier 2 project-level evaluation for the portion of the high-speed rail corridor in Springfield, Illinois. FRA is the lead federal agency and the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) is the joint-lead state agency for the environmental review process. IDOT proposes to improve high speed passenger rail service between Chicago, Illinois and St. Louis, Missouri, including the rail lines through Springfield, Illinois. The proposal includes the development of double track along the railroad corridor to improve high-speed passenger service reliability and safety, and to increase the number of trips between Chicago and St. Louis, as well as improvements to railroad crossings, signals, and stations. The Final EIS presents the Program's purpose and need, identifies all reasonable alternatives, describes the affected environment, analyzes the potential environmental impacts of all the reasonable alternatives and the No-Build Alternative, and identifies the Preferred Alternative and appropriate mitigation measures to minimize the potential environmental impacts.
National Highway-Rail Crossing Inventory Reporting Requirements
On October 18, 2012, FRA published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on National Highway-Rail Crossing Inventory Reporting Requirements. In the NPRM, FRA announced that it would schedule a technical symposium to give interested parties the opportunity to discuss issues associated with the electronic submission of data to the U.S. DOT National Highway-Rail Crossing Inventory (Crossing Inventory). This notice announces the scheduling of the technical symposium. This notice also extends the NPRM comment period to allow time for interested parties to submit comments after the technical symposium.
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 requirements for clearance by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), FRA is soliciting public comment on specific aspects of the activities identified below.
Track Safety Standards; Improving Rail Integrity
FRA is proposing to amend the Federal Track Safety Standards to promote the safety of railroad operations by enhancing rail flaw detection processes. In particular, FRA is proposing minimum qualification requirements for rail flaw detection equipment operators, as well as revisions to requirements for effective rail inspection frequencies, rail flaw remedial actions, and rail inspection records. In addition, FRA is proposing to remove regulatory requirements concerning joint bar fracture reporting. This rulemaking is intended to implement section 403 of the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (RSIA).
Notice of Availability of a Final General Conformity Determination for the California High-Speed Train System Merced to Fresno Section
FRA is issuing this notice to advise the public that it issued a Final General Conformity Determination for the Merced to Fresno Section of the California High-Speed Train (HST) System on September 18, 2012. FRA is the lead Federal agency for compliance with federal environmental review requirements including the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and is also the Federal agency with responsibility for complying with the Clean Air Act General Conformity requirements. The California High Speed Rail Authority (Authority), as the Project- proponent, is the lead state agency for the environmental review process for the Project. This environmental review includes completing an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) required under NEPA and an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) in compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and CEQA Guidelines.
National Highway-Rail Crossing Inventory Reporting Requirements
FRA is proposing to require railroads to submit information to the U.S. DOT National Highway-Rail Crossing Inventory about highway- rail crossings and pathway crossings over which they operate. These amendments, which are required by the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (RSIA), would require railroads to submit information about previously unreported and new public and private highway-rail crossings and pathway crossings to the U.S. DOT National Highway-Rail Crossing Inventory and to periodically update the Inventory.
Agency Information Collection Activities; Comment Request
In compliance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, this notice announces that the Information Collection Requirements (ICRs) abstracted below have been forwarded to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and comment. The ICRs describe 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 August 6, 2012, volume 77, page number 151.
Safety Advisory 2012-04; Worn Rail Conditions
FRA is issuing Safety Advisory 2012-04 to remind track owners, railroads, and their track inspectors of the importance of complying with the applicable rail management programs and engineering procedures that address rail with severe rail head wear and rolling contact fatigue (RCF) conditions. FRA is issuing this notice in response to a July 11, 2012, derailment in Ohio that a preliminary investigation indicates was likely caused by the failure of multiple defects involving detail fractures in rail exhibiting significant vertical head loss (rail head wear) and gage-side-oriented RCF. This notice contains recommendations to track owners to ensure that their employees and other entities performing track inspections comply with the requirements of the applicable engineering procedures that address critical rail head wear, particularly if the track under inspection exhibits significant RCF or a sudden increase in localized rail failure.