Railroad Expert Witnesses & FRA Report

What areas may railroad expert witnesses consult on?  These experts are able to write reports and opine on railroad safety, rail accidents, railroad safety standards, and more.  In the news, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Railroad Administration has released its assessment of the Metro-North Railroad accidents in which six passengers and workers were killed in less than a year.  The investigation uncovered “safety-critical shortfalls.” The FRA announced Operation Deep Dive on December 16, 2013 following a train crash near Spuyten Duyvil Station that killed four people and injured nearly 70 others.

FRA PRESS RELEASE 02-14

The report instructs Metro-North to take the following actions to mitigate risk and to begin a turnaround of the railroad’s safety culture:

  • Effective immediately, Metro-North’s senior leadership must put safety front and center, and communicate and implement that priority throughout its organization.
  • Within 60 days, Metro-North shall submit to FRA a plan to improve its Safety Department’s mission and effectiveness, including providing appropriate in-person monitoring of field activities and personnel.
  • Within 60 days, Metro-North shall submit to FRA a plan to improve its employee training, ensuring that it develops and implements an effective training program for all operating departments.

The assessment directs Metro-North to address twenty-five (25) specific recommendations covering eight (8) safety critical concerns identified by FRA.  These include:

  • Track safety standards
  • Railroad operating rules
  • Certification requirements for locomotive engineers and conductors
  • Safety training for roadway workers and employees who maintain rolling stock
  • Train control systems
  • Operations Control Center
  • Fatigue management for maintenance-of-way employees

About Karen Olson

Information Professional with twenty years experience in legal, public record, and business research. Fifteen years law firm experience.

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