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Pennsylvania House of Representatives
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House of Representatives
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: March 1, 2023 03:11 PM
From: Representative Louis C. Schmitt, Jr.
To: All House members
Subject: Legislation that will require freight locomotives to be operated with a crew of at least two individuals
In the near future, I will be introducing legislation that will require freight locomotives to be operated with a crew of at least two individuals.
As we’ve repeatedly seen over the past few weeks, there is a glaring need for stricter freight rail safety standards. While it’s true there have been no fatal accidents on freight railroads since the advent of Positive Train Control (PTC) in 2020, what we have not seen is any meaningful reduction in derailments. As a result, people across the country have been exposed to toxic chemicals, some of whom have experienced adverse health effects.
While we are limited in the Pennsylvania legislature as to what we can do since the federal government has jurisdiction over rail, we are not without recourse. My legislation, if passed, would require freight rail locomotives to be operated by two people in the cab of the locomotive. It would also grant authority to the Pennsylvania Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to levy civil penalties to rail companies who do not comply with the new law.
In industries where safety is a priority, there is usually a rule of two: pilot and co-pilot in aviation, medic and driver for emergency medical services, and responder and backup for police and fire. It is past time to include freight rail among these industries.
I hope you will join me in sponsoring this important legislation.

Introduced as HB1126