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.