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House of Representatives
Session of 2015 - 2016 Regular Session


Posted: December 2, 2015 10:14 AM
From: Representative Joseph A. Petrarca
To: All House members
Subject: Legislation Providing for Railroad Safety (Four Bill Package)
In the near future, I plan on re-introducing a four bill package designed to improve safety for railroad employees and the general public.

As you may be aware, rail freight transportation has recently been on the increase in the United States. According to the Association of American Railroads, rail freight traffic has increased approximately 4.5% from 2013 to 2014. This rise is due not only to an increase in the shipment of consumer goods, but also due to an increase in the rail transportation of crude oil, which is by far the single, fastest growing rail-transported commodity in the United States.

The $60 billion industry accounts for 221,000 jobs across the country. In addition, it provides numerous public benefits including a reduction in road congestion, highway fatalities, and fuel consumption. As such, it is imperative that we continue to ensure the vitality of this industry in the Commonwealth, while also protecting the health and safety of employees and the general public.

Document #1

Introduced as HB1494

Description: Provide for Whistle Post Placement and Maintenance - A whistle post is a sign situated along a railroad track at a certain distance from a crossing.  These signs remind engineers to sound the horn or whistle as the train approaches a crossing.  This legislation would require any public utility engaged in the railroad business to post, maintain, and repair whistle post signs. 
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Document #2

Introduced as HB1493

Description: Prohibit the Operation of Locomotives in Reverse Orientation - Locomotives are typically operated with the engineer’s cabin facing forward to allow the operator of the locomotive to have an unobstructed view of the oncoming railroad tracks.  Occasionally, while pulling numerous rail cars, the orientation of a locomotive is reversed, so that the engineer’s cabin is in the opposite direction.  Under these circumstances, it is difficult for the engineer to see the oncoming railroad tracks.  This legislation would prohibit any Class I railroad in the Commonwealth from operating a railroad locomotive in reverse or backup position (reverse orientation), except under certain defined circumstances. 
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Document #3

Introduced as HB1123

Description: Establish Identification Documents for Railroad Employees - Currently, not all railroad employees are issued photo identification cards by their employers.  For this reason, when a train is involved in an accident, police officers investigating the scene typically ask to see the engineer’s Pennsylvania driver’s license for identification purposes.  Afterwards, in some instances, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation is made aware of the incident and it appears on the vehicle driving record of the engineer.  This legislation would require employees of a railroad to carry photo identification, furnished to them by their employer, on their person at all times.  It also relieves the railroad employee of the requirement to exhibit their driver’s license upon demand by a police officer in connection with the operation of a locomotive or train in this Commonwealth. 
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Document #4

Introduced as HB1090

Description: Develop Contract Carrier Driver Standards - This legislation would provide for the safe transportation of railroad employees by contract carriers by establishing standards for the drivers employed by a contract carrier.
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