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06/14/2024 09:32 PM
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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2023 - 2024 Regular Session


Posted: June 13, 2023 11:57 AM
From: Senator Katie J. Muth and Sen. Lindsey M. Williams
To: All Senate members
Subject: Rail Safety Legislation
In the near future, we plan to introduce companion legislation to House Bill 1028 introduced by Rep. Robert Matzie and Rep. Jim Marshall to improve rail safety in Pennsylvania.
As we learned in the days and weeks following the train derailment in East Palestine, OH that impacted the health and well-being of Pennsylvania families in Beaver County, the majority of rail safety provisions are governed by federal law.
The Norfolk Southern derailment less than one mile from the Pennsylvania border shed light on rail safety – and the lack thereof. Pennsylvania has over 5,000 miles of railroads across the state and is among the most heavily trafficked states by freight rail. We need to ensure that our Commonwealth has safety measures in place to protect our residents in the event of another railroad disaster. 
This legislation would augment the Federal Rail and Safety Act (FRSA) with comprehensive rail safety provisions specific to Pennsylvania. This bill would address the standards, oversight, and maintenance of wayside detector systems, provide for additional oversight of railroad company safety compliance, provide for a reporting mechanism if railroad companies are deemed out of compliance with federal regulations, establish minimum safe staffing requirements, create a reporting system for the transportation of hazardous materials and waste, and restrict unsafe train length.

According to data from the Federal Railroad Administration, there were at least 1,164 train derailments across the country in 2022 – an average of roughly three derailments per day. The East Palestine derailment was devastating and we need to ensure Pennsylvania has laws in place to regulate this industry and protect against future derailments in our communities.  

Please join us in cosponsoring this important legislation. 

Introduced as SB808