Federal Register: October 19, 2006 (Volume 71, Number 202)
DOCID: FR Doc 06-8611
DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
CFR Citation: 49 CFR Parts 229 and 238
Docket ID: [Docket No. FRA-2005-23080, Notice No. 2]
RIN ID: RIN 2130-AB67
NOTICE: Part II
DOCUMENT ACTION: Final rule.
Passenger Equipment Safety Standards; Miscellaneous Amendments and Attachment of Safety Appliances on Passenger Equipment
DATES: Effective Date: December 18, 2006. The incorporation by reference of certain publications listed in the rule is approved by the Director of the Federal Register as of December 18, 2006.
FRA is amending its existing regulations in an effort to address various mechanical issues relevant to the manufacture, efficient utilization, and safe operation of passenger equipment and trains that have arisen since FRA's original issuance of the Passenger Equipment Safety Standards. The miscellaneous amendments concentrate on the following five areas: Clarifying the terminology related to piston travel indicators; providing alternative design and additional inspection criteria for new passenger equipment not designed to allow inspection of the application and release of the brakes from outside the equipment; permitting some latitude in the use of passenger equipment with redundant air compressors when a limited number of the compressors become inoperative; recognizing current locomotive manufacturing techniques by permitting an alternative pneumatic pressure test for main reservoirs; and adding provisions to ensure the proper securement of unattended equipment. FRA is also clarifying the existing regulatory requirements related to the attachment of safety appliances and is mandating an identification and inspection protocol to address passenger equipment containing welded safety appliances or welded safety appliance brackets or supports. Finally, FRA is amending the regulations to permit railroads the ability to apply outofservice credit to certain periodic maintenance requirements related to passenger equipment.
Transportation Department, Federal Railroad Administration,
I. Statutory Background
In September of 1994, the Secretary of Transportation convened a
meeting of representatives from all sectors of the rail industry with
the goal of enhancing rail safety. As one of the initiatives arising
from this Rail Safety Summit, the Secretary announced that DOT would
begin developing safety standards for rail passenger equipment over a
fiveyear period. In November of 1994, Congress adopted the Secretary's
schedule for implementing rail passenger equipment regulations and
included it in the Federal Railroad Safety Authorization Act of 1994
(the Act), Public Law Number 103440, 108 Stat. 4619, 46234624
(November 2, 1994). Section 215 of the Act, as now codified at 49 U.S.C. 20133, provides as follows:
(a) MINIMUM STANDARDS.The Secretary of Transportation shall prescribe regulations establishing minimum standards for the safety of cars used by railroad carriers to transport passengers. Before prescribing such regulations, the Secretary shall consider
(1) the crashworthiness of the cars;
(2) interior features (including luggage restraints, seat belts, and exposed surfaces) that may affect passenger safety;
(3) maintenance and inspection of the cars;
(4) emergency response procedures and equipment; and
(5) any operating rules and conditions that directly affect safety not otherwise governed by regulations.
The Secretary may make applicable some or all of the standards
established under this subsection to cars existing at the time the
regulations are prescribed, as well as to new cars, and the
Secretary shall explain in the rulemaking document the basis for making such standards applicable to existing cars.
(b) INITIAL AND FINAL REGULATIONS.(1) The Secretary shall prescribe initial regulations under subsection (a) within 3 years after the date of enactment of the Federal Railroad Safety Authorization Act of 1994. The initial regulations may exempt equipment used by tourist, historic, scenic, and excursion railroad carriers to transport passengers.
(2) The Secretary shall prescribe final regulations under subsection (a) within 5 years after such date of enactment. (c) PERSONNEL.The Secretary may establish within the
Department of Transportation 2 additional fulltime equivalent positions beyond the number permitted under existing law to assist with the drafting, prescribing, and implementation of regulations under this section.
(d) CONSULTATION.In prescribing regulations, issuing orders, and making amendments under this section, the Secretary may consult with Amtrak, public authorities operating railroad passenger service, other railroad carriers transporting passengers,
organizations of passengers, and organizations of employees. A consultation is not subject to the Federal Advisory Committee Act (5 U.S.C. App.), but minutes of the consultation shall be placed in the public docket of the regulatory proceeding.
The Secretary of Transportation has delegated these rulemaking responsibilities to the Federal Railroad Administrator. See 49 CFR 1.49(m).
II. Proceedings to Date
On June 17, 1996, FRA published an advanced notice of proposed
rulemaking (ANPRM) concerning the establishment of comprehensive safety standards for railroad passenger
equipment. See 61 FR 30672. The ANPRM provided background information on the need for such standards, offered preliminary ideas on approaching passenger safety issues, and presented questions on various passenger safety topics. Following consideration of comments received on the ANPRM and advice from FRA's Passenger Equipment Working Group, FRA published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on September 23, 1997, to establish comprehensive safety standards for railroad passenger equipment. See 62 FR 49728. In addition to requesting written comment on the NPRM, FRA also solicited oral comment at a public hearing held on November 21, 1997. FRA considered the comments received on the NPRM and prepared a final rule establishing safety standards for passenger equipment, which was published on May 12, 1999. See 64 FR 25540.
After publication of the final rule, interested parties filed petitions seeking FRA's reconsideration of some of the requirements contained in the final rule. These petitions generally related to the following subject areas: structural design; fire safety; training; inspection, testing, and maintenance; and movement of defective equipment. On July 3, 2000, FRA issued a response to the petitions for reconsideration relating to the inspection, testing, and maintenance of passenger equipment, the movement of defective passenger equipment, and other miscellaneous mechanicalrelated provisions contained in the final rule. See 65 FR 41284. On April 23, 2002 and June 25, 2002, FRA published two additional responses to the petitions for reconsideration addressing the remaining issues raised in the petitions. See 67 FR 19970, and 67 FR 42892.
Subsequent to the issuance of these responses, FRA and interested industry members began identifying various issues related to the new passenger equipment safety standards with the intent that FRA would address the issues through FRA's Railroad Safety Advisory Committee (RSAC). On May 20, 2003, FRA presented, and the RSAC accepted, the task of reviewing existing passenger equipment safety needs and programs and recommending consideration of specific actions useful to advance the safety of rail passenger service. The RSAC established the Passenger Equipment Working Group (Working Group) to handle this task and develop recommendations for the full RSAC to consider. Due to the variety of issues involved the Working Group established a number of smaller task forces, with specific expertise, to develop recommendations on various subjectspecific issues. One of these task forces, the Mechanical Issues Task Force (Task Force), was assigned the job of identifying and developing issues and recommendations specifically related to the inspection, testing, and operation of passenger equipment as well as concerns related to the attachment of safety appliances on passenger equipment.
The Task Force met several times between 2003 and late2005 in order to develop detailed recommendations to the full Working Group. The Task Force recommendations became the recommendations of the Working Group and the full RSAC. The RSAC did not make any recommendations regarding the proposed provisions related to the attachment of safety appliances on passenger equipment and the proposed provision involving outofservice credit. At the October 2627, 2004 meeting of the full Working Group, FRA withdrew the task related to the consideration of handling the attachment of safety appliances on passenger equipment from the RSAC. FRA determined that consensus on this issue could not be reached in the RSAC process and determined that it would have to proceed with these issues on its own. Therefore, FRA developed the proposed provisions related to the attachment of safety appliances unilaterally based on its own expertise in the area and based on discussions and information developed by the Working Group and Task Force. FRA also did not seek consensus in the RSAC process for the proposed provision related to outof service credit. This issue was addressed on FRA's own accord in response to the American Public Transportation Association's (APTA) petition for rulemaking dated March 28, 2005. Thus, FRA did not seek RSAC consensus on these issues. FRA reviewed and adopted the recommendations of the full RSAC and issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on December 8, 2005. See 70 FR 73070.
The comment period for the above noted NPRM closed on February 17, 2006. FRA received comments from two parties, the Brotherhood of Railway Carmen and APTA. The comments of these two parties were concentrated almost exclusively on the proposed provisions related to the attachment of safety appliances on passenger equipment. As the involved provisions were not developed through the RSAC process and the comments on those provisions could not be discussed with the members of the Working Group or Task Force and because FRA received no significant comments on any of the RSAC developed provisions proposed in the NPRM, FRA determined that there was no need to hold any further RSAC meetings related to this proceeding.
Moreover, because this final rule retains all of the RSAC recommended provisions proposed in the NPRM without change, there was no need to seek the full RSAC's approval of this final rule. Consequently, FRA proceeded to draft this final rule without further input from the RSAC.
III. RSAC Overview
In March 1996, FRA established the RSAC, which provides a forum for
developing consensus recommendations on rulemakings and other safety
program issues. The Committee includes representation from all of the
agency's major customer groups, including railroads, labor
organizations, suppliers and manufacturers, and other interested parties. A list of member groups follows:
American Association of Private Railroad Car Owners (AAPRCO) American Association of State Highway & Transportation Officials (AASHTO) APTA
American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association (ASLRRA) American Train Dispatchers Association (ATDA)
Association of American Railroads (AAR)
Association of Railway Museums (ARM)
Association of State Rail Safety Managers (ASRSM)
Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET)
Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees Division (BMWED) Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen (BRS)
Federal Transit Administration (FTA)*
High Speed Ground Transportation Association (HSGTA)
International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW)
Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA)*
League of Railway Industry Women*
National Association of Railroad Passengers (NARP)
National Association of Railway Business Women*
National Conference of Firemen & Oilers
National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association
National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak)
National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB)*
Railway Supply Institute (RSI)
Safe Travel America (STA)
Secretaria de Communicaciones y Transporte*
Sheet Metal Workers International Association (SMWIA)
Tourist Railway Association Inc.
Transport Workers Union of America (TWU)
Transportation Communications International Union/BRC (TCIU/BRC) United Transportation Union (UTU)
*Indicates associate membership.
When appropriate, FRA assigns a task to the RSAC, and after
consideration and debate, RSAC may accept or reject the task. If
accepted, the RSAC establishes a working group that possesses the
appropriate expertise and representation of interests to develop
recommendations to FRA for action on the task. These recommendations
are developed by consensus. A working group may establish one or more
task forces to develop facts and options on a particular aspect of a
given task. The task force then provides that information to the
working group for consideration. If a working group comes to unanimous
consensus on recommendations for action, the package is presented to
the RSAC for a vote. If the proposal is accepted by a simple majority
of the RSAC, the proposal is formally recommended to FRA. FRA then
determines what action to take on the recommendation. Because FRA staff
has played an active role at the working group level in discussing the
issues and options and in drafting the language of the consensus proposal, FRA is often favorably inclined toward the RSAC
recommendation. However, FRA is in no way bound to follow the recommendation and the agency exercises its independent judgment on whether the recommended rule achieves the agency's regulatory goal, is soundly supported, and is in accordance with policy and legal requirements. Often, FRA varies in some respects from the RSAC recommendation in developing the actual regulatory proposal. If the working group or the RSAC is unable to reach consensus on
recommendations for action, FRA moves ahead to resolve the issue through traditional rulemaking proceedings.
On May 20, 2003, FRA presented, and the RSAC accepted, the task of reviewing existing passenger equipment safety needs and programs and recommending consideration of specific actions useful to advance the safety of rail passenger service. The Working Group was established to handle this task and develop recommendations for the full RSAC to consider. Members of the Working Group, in addition to FRA, included the following:
AAR, including members from BNSF Railway Company (BNSF), CSX Transportation, Incorporated (CSX), and Union Pacific Railroad Company (UP); APTA, including members from Illinois Commuter Rail Corporation (METRA), Long Island Rail Road (LIRR), MetroNorth Railroad (MNR), Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA), Southern California Regional Rail Authority (SCRRA), Saint Gobian Sully NA, LDK Engineering, and Herzog Transit Services, Incorporated; Amtrak; AAPRCO; AASHTO; BLET; BRS; HSGTA; IBEW; NARP; RSI; SMWIA; STA; TCIU/BRC; TWU; and UTU.
The NTSB met with the Working Group and provided staff advisors when possible. In addition, staff from the U.S. DOT Volpe National Transportation Systems Center (Volpe) attended many of the meetings and contributed to the technical discussions. Due to the variety of issues involved, the Working Group established a number of smaller task forces, with specific expertise, to develop recommendations on various subjectspecific issues. Members of the task forces included various representatives from various organizations that were part of the larger Working Group. One of these task forces, the Mechanical Issues Task Force (Task Force), was assigned the job of identifying and developing issues and recommendations specifically related to the inspection, testing, and operation of passenger equipment as well as concerns related to the attachment of safety appliances on passenger equipment. Please refer to the preceding discussion in this document as well as the NPRM's preamble discussion for a complete overview of this proceeding both before and after the issuance of the NPRM. See Discussion in Paragraph IIProceedings to Date; and 70 FR 73070 through 73071.
Throughout the preamble discussion of this final rule, FRA refers
to comments, views, suggestions, or recommendations made by members of
the Working Group or related Task Force. When using this terminology,
FRA is referring to views, statements, discussions or positions
identified or contained in either the minutes of the Working Group or
Task Force meetings that were conducted during the development of the
NPRM issued in this proceeding. These documents have been made part of
the docket in this proceeding and are available for public inspection
as discussed in the preceding ADDRESSES portion of this document. These
points are discussed to show the origin of certain issues and the
course of discussions on those issues at the task force or working
group level. We believe this helps illuminate factors FRA has weighed
in making its regulatory decisions, and the logic behind those
decisions. The reader should keep in mind, of course, that only the
full RSAC makes recommendations to FRA, and it is the consensus
recommendation of the full RSAC on which FRA acted in developing the NPRM and this final rule.
IV. Technical Background
A. Redundancy of Air Compressors
MU passenger locomotives are generally operated as married pairs, but in some cases they can be operated as single or triple units. In the case of the married pairs, each pair of MU locomotives share a single air compressor. When operated in triple units, the three MU locomotives generally share two air compressors, and singleunit MU locomotives are equipped with their own air compressor. The amount of air required to be produced by the air compressors is based on the size of the brake pipe and the brake cylinder reservoirs, the size of which is based on the calculated number of brake applicationandrelease cycles the train will encounter. In addition, the compressed air produced by the air compressors is shared within the consist either by utilizing a main reservoir equalizing pipe or, in single pipe systems, by utilizing the brake pipe which is then diverted to the brake cylinder supply reservoir and other airoperated devices by use of a governor arrangement. Therefore, a passenger train set consisting of numerous MU locomotives will have multiple air compressors providing the train consist with the necessary compressed air. FRA agrees with the determinations of the Task Force that a loss of compressed air from a limited number of air compressors in such a train will not adversely effect the operation of the train's brakes or other airoperated components on the train.
Representatives of railroads and air brake manufacturers provided
information demonstrating that the safety of a train set is not
compromised when a predetermined number of inoperative air compressors
are allowed to continue to operate in service on a MU train set. On
such train sets, the air compressors are applied by technical
specification to a certain number of cars such as one per married pair,
two per triplet, and so on. The technical specifications for these air
compressors generally allow for a duty cycle (percentage of operating capacity) for
each air compressor that is something less than 50 percent. In fact, some technical specifications limit the air compressor duty cycle to 33 percent. This means that on MU train sets the available air compressors are required to operate at only 33 to 50 percent of their operational capacity. One of the major reasons for imposing these low duty cycles is to ensure that adequate air pressure is available if one or more of the other air compressors in the train set is not operating properly. Thus, these systems are currently designed to function properly even in the event that a limited number of air compressors become inoperative while the train is in service. Moreover, even in the unlikely event that an MU passenger train set would lose all of its air compressors, then the air brakes would apply and would remain applied until sufficient compressed air is restored to the system. Consequently, FRA does not see any adverse impact on the operational safety of these types of trains if they are permitted to operate for a relatively short period of time with a limited number of air compressors being inoperative or ineffective.
FRA did not receive any comments on the proposed provisions related to this issue. Thus, the final rule retains the proposed provisions without change and permits MU train sets with a limited number of inoperative or ineffective air compressors to continue to be used in passenger service until the next exterior calendar day mechanical inspection when found at such an inspection. The final rule requires a railroad to determine through data, analysis, or actual testing the number of inoperative or ineffective air compressors that could be in an MU train set without compromising the integrity or safety of the train set based on the size and type of train and the train's operating profile. The railroad is required to submit the maximum number of air compressors permitted to be inoperative or ineffective on its various trains to FRA before it can begin operation under the final rule provision and is required to retain and make available to FRA any data or analysis relied on to make those determinations. The final rule also requires a qualified maintenance person (QMP) to verify the safety and integrity of any train operating with inoperative or ineffective air compressors before the equipment continues in passenger service. In addition, the final rule retains the proposal provision requiring notification to the train crew of any inoperative or ineffective air compressors and requires that a record be maintained of the defective condition. FRA believes these provision will ensure the safety of passenger operations while providing the railroads additional flexibility in handling defective or inoperative equipment. B. Pneumatic Testing of Locomotive Main Reservoirs
The current regulations contained at 49 CFR 229.31(a) relating to main reservoir tests requires that a hydrostatic (water) test of a main reservoir be conducted before it is originally placed in service or before an existing main reservoir is placed back in service after being drilled as provided for in Sec. 229.31(c). At the Working Group and Task Force meetings, the manufacturers of main reservoirs requested the ability to conduct a pneumatic (air) test of the reservoirs in lieu of the currently required hydrostatic test. The request was limited to providing relief only for those tests required before a main reservoir is originally placed in service and after an existing main reservoir is drilled.
The companies that manufacture reservoirs for the rail industry, whether the reservoir is utilized as a main reservoir or reservoir(s) utilized for other purposes, must have an American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) certification. The reservoirs, both main and other, manufactured by these companies are designed and certified to meet the requirements of the ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code. In addition, reservoirs utilized as main reservoirs on locomotives are also manufactured and certified to meet the requirements for such contained in part 229 of the Federal regulations. Currently, all passenger car reservoirs are pneumatically tested after fabrication and before the application of an interior protective coating. This process is utilized so that reservoirs may be repaired if the reservoir does not pass the initial test requirements. If the interior protective coating is applied prior to testing, any weld repairs cannot be performed, as the interior coating would be damaged.
The rationale for originally requiring that the main reservoirs be tested hydrostatically was based on the safety concerns should a main reservoir catastrophically fail during the testing. The likelihood of injury is minimized by having the reservoir filled with a liquid rather than air. However, since the original drafting of the locomotive regulations, manufacturers of reservoirs have implemented and developed both equipment and procedures to ensure that test personnel are adequately shielded when conducting the testing. The manufacturers have been performing pneumatic testing on reservoir for years and FRA is not aware of any injury related to such testing in manufacturercontrolled facilities. Thus, the safety concerns originally attached to pneumatic testing have been minimized, if not eliminated, when conducted at properly equipped manufacturer facilities.
The ASME code currently utilized by all manufacturers of main reservoirs allows for the pneumatic testing of the reservoirs when the introduction of liquid cannot be tolerated. The introduction of water to perform hydrostatic testing on main reservoirs creates a problem because, if the liquid is not completely removed and the reservoir interior completely dried, the moisture results in poor adhesion or a lower coating of film than required. This condition has the potential of causing interior corrosion and premature failure of the reservoir. Thus, rather than creating this potential, FRA believes that it would be both safer and more efficient to permit the manufacturers of main reservoirs to utilize pneumatic testing to meet the requirements contained in 49 CFR 229.31. FRA received no comments objecting to the flexibility proposed in the NPRM or suggesting additional restrictions or requirements. Consequently, this final rule retains the proposed amendments to the regulation without change to permit pneumatic testing of newly manufactured main reservoirs and reservoirs that are newly drilled and tested at a manufacturer's facility.
It should be noted that the final rule retains the proposed restriction that limits the ability to conduct pneumatic testing of the main reservoirs at only those facilities with appropriate safeguards in place to ensure the safety of the personnel conducting the testing. After a reservoir is installed on a locomotive, FRA continues to believe that hydrostatic testing would be the only testing method that adequately ensures the safety and protection of the personnel that are performing the test or working near the installed reservoir. Regulatory language inserted at the end of paragraph (c) of Sec. 229.31 makes clear that pneumatic testing of a reservoir currently in use and newly drilled may only be conducted by a manufacturer of main reservoirs in a safe environment. In other circumstances, the final rule makes clear that a hydrostatic test of the reservoir must be conducted. C. Design of New Passenger Equipment
The manufacturers and railroad representatives on the Working Group and Task Force sought clarification of
the provision originally contained in 49 CFR 238.231(b). This section requires the brake systems on equipment ordered on or after September 8, 2000, or placed in service on or after September 9, 2002, to be designed so as not to require an inspector to go on, under, or between the equipment to observe the brake actuation or release. At the Task Force meetings and in the NPRM, FRA made clear that the requirement was intended to be a design standard and was not intended to prohibit or limit the conduct of brake or mechanical inspections required to be conducted in part 238. See 70 FR 73074. FRA realizes that in order to perform many of the brake and mechanical inspections required by the regulations an inspector will have to go on, under, or between the equipment. FRA has acknowledged this practice and railroads have effectively conducted these types of inspections in this manner for decades.
The plain language of existing Sec. 238.231(b) requires new equipment to be designed to allow direct observation of the brake actuation and release without fouling the equipment. The preamble to the original final rule discusses alternative design approaches using some type of piston travel indicator or piston cylinder pressure indicator on equipment whose design makes it impossible to meet this requirement. See 64 FR 25612 (May 12, 1999). FRA's intent was that this piston travel indicator could be a device similar to the definition of ``actuator'' contained in Sec. 238.5 or some sort of piston cylinder pressure indicator. The rule text and related preamble make clear that the actuation and release of the brake (or a direct indication of such) be able to be observed without an inspector going on, under, or between the equipment. FRA does not believe that truck pressure indicators (which provide no information on piston travel or piston cylinder pressure) meet this requirement. FRA recognized that the envisioned ``indicators'' discussed in the preamble to Sec. 238.231(b) may be ahead of the technological curve for passenger equipment currently being delivered and that which may be delivered in the future. Thus, FRA noted its willingness to discuss additional inspection protocols in lieu of applying piston travel indicators on such equipment.
During the development of the NPRM, the Task Force discussed the issue in detail as a number of railroads were in the process of receiving new equipment, such as bilevel coaches and other lowslung equipment, the design of which does not allow observation of the brake actuation and release of the brake without going on, under, or between the equipment. Several railroads and manufacturers noted that the type of piston travel indicators envisioned by FRA to meet the Sec. 238.231(b) requirement were not currently available, and even if they could be developed in the future, they would likely be a maintenance problem and unreliable. Representatives of rail labor also questioned the viability and need for the type of piston travel indicators discussed in the preamble to the original final rule. These participants did not believe that any type of mechanical indicator should take the place of direct visual inspection of the brake system components. Consequently, the members of the Task Force believed that the best approach to the issue was to provide additional inspection protocols for new equipment that are designed in a manner that makes observation of the actuation and release of the brakes impossible from outside the plane of the equipment rather than mandating the use of untested and potentially unreliable piston travel indicators.
FRA and the Task Force believe that the brake system and mechanical components on bilevel and other lowslung passenger equipment can be adequately inspected through the daily brake and mechanical inspections currently required in the Federal regulations; provided, appropriate blue signal protections are established for the personnel required to perform such inspections. These daily inspections permit a visual inspection of a large percentage of the brake and mechanical components and over a period of a few days all portions of the brake system and mechanical components will be visually observed. However, because the necessary design of some new equipment makes the daily inspections of the equipment more difficult, does not permit visual observation of the brake actuation and release from outside the plane of the vehicle, and because no reliable mechanical device is currently available to provide a direct indication of such, FRA and the Task Force believed it was necessary to adopt additional inspection protocols for this type of equipment. Thus, the NPRM proposed an additional inspection regiment for newer equipment designed in such a manner.
The requirements proposed in the NPRM that were related to this type of equipment were similar to those contained in a FRA Safety Board letter dated October 19, 2004, granting that portion of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority's (MBTA) waiver petition seeking relief from the requirements of Sec. 238.231(b) for 28 Kawasaki bilevel coaches. See Docket Number FRA200418063. FRA did not receive any comments directly related to the proposed inspection protocols or the proposed approach to this issue. Thus, this final rule retains the proposed provisions with slight changes for purposes of clarity.
The inspection protocols retained in this final rule will be applicable to equipment placed in service on or after September 9, 2002, the design of which does not permit actual visual observation of the brake actuation and release. The final rule provisions will require such equipment to be equipped with either piston travel indicators or brake indicators as defined in Sec. 238.5. The equipment is also required to receive a periodic brake inspection by a QMP at intervals not to exceed five inservice days and the inspection must be performed while the equipment is over an inspection pit or on a raised track. In addition, the railroad performing the additional inspection is required to maintain a record of the inspection consistent with the existing record requirements related to Class I brake tests. FRA believes that these additional inspection requirements will ensure the safety and proper operation of the brake system on equipment which does not permit actual visual observation of the brake actuation and release without fouling the vehicle.
FRA received one suggestion from APTA regarding the identification of cars that will be covered by the provisions added in these sections. APTA wanted to make clear that the railroad and car manufacturer would make an initial determination regarding the applicability of the requirements contained in this section and that FRA would oversee these determinations for accuracy. FRA agrees with this position as the railroad and car manufacturer are in the best position to make an initial determination. FRA will exercise its oversight when conducting sample car inspections as well as its regular inspection activity. FRA notes that the additional inspection requirements would be applicable to new cars constructed similar to the lowslung bilevel passenger coaches that were the subject of MBTA's waiver request discussed above. D. Safety Appliances
Several issues regarding the attachment of safety appliances on
passenger equipment have arisen over the last decade. These issues
generally involve the method by which safety appliances on existing passenger equipment are required to be attached,
either directly to the car or locomotive body or by use of a bracket or support. It has come to FRA's attention, due to the investigation of these issues, that a significant number of existing passenger cars and locomotives contain some safety appliances that are attached to the equipment by some form of welding, typically the welding of a bracket or plate to which the safety appliance is then mechanically fastened. In the last two decades, manufacturers of certain passenger equipment have used welding on some of the safety appliance arrangements of newly built equipment. Some segments of the passenger industry believe welding of these arrangements is acceptable and have sought a review of FRA's historical prohibition on the welding of safety appliance arrangements. These parties believe that new and improved welding technology, the implementation of new tracking standards, proper quality control, and historical documentation support the limited use of welding on certain safety appliance arrangements.
Historically, FRA has required that safety appliances be mechanically fastened to the car structure. FRA has also historically required that any brackets or supports applied to a car structure solely for the purpose of securing a safety appliance must be mechanically fastened to the car body. See MP&E Technical Bulletin 98 14 (June 15, 1998). FRA's prohibition on the weldment of safety appliances and their supports is based on its longstanding administrative interpretation of the regulatory ``manner of application'' provisions contained in 49 CFR part 231 which require that safety appliances be ``securely fastened'' with a specified mechanical fastener. See e.g., 49 CFR Sec. Sec. 231.12(c)(4); 231.13(b)(4); 231.14(b)(4) and (f)(4)). FRA's historical prohibition on the welding of safety appliances is based on its belief that welds are not uniform, are subject to failure, and are very difficult to inspect to determine if the weld is broken or cracked. Mechanical fasteners, by contrast, are generally easier to inspect and tend to become noticeably loose prior to failure. FRA notes that many of its historical beliefs related to the welded attachment of safety appliance brackets and supports on passenger equipment are based on welding technologies that were in their infancy when first being utilized. In addition, many of FRA's concerns in this area are mitigated when appropriate welding standards covering quality control, initial manufacture, repair, and welder qualifications are established and implemented.
Generally, FRA's longstanding interpretation of the regulation prohibiting the welding of safety appliances has not been seriously questioned or opposed since its inception. Virtually all freight railcars manufactured for use in the United States and passenger cars manufactured in the United States have their safety appliances and their safety appliance brackets and supports mechanically fastened to the car body, unless a specific exception has been provided by FRA or the regulations. FRA acknowledges that it has permitted limited welding of certain safety appliances or their brackets and supports on locomotives and tanks cars. See MP&E Technical Bulletins 9848 and 00 06 (June 15, 1998 and August 7, 2000, respectively). These exceptions were provided because there were no other alternative methods available for mechanically fastening these safety appliance arrangements.
Currently, freight railroad equipment complies with the existing regulations and FRA's interpretation of those provisions.
Traditionally, FRA has not permitted welding of safety appliance arrangements on freight equipment. In addition, the AAR does not permit the welding of safety appliance arrangements. FRA continues to believe that, except in limited circumstances, the safety appliances on freight equipment should not be attached with welding under any condition. This is primarily due to the extreme differences in use and inspection between passenger and freight equipment. See 70 FR 73076. Thus, FRA does not intend to permit welded safety appliances or their attachment in that segment of the industry. Consequently, FRA is limiting any relief being provided in this final rule to safety appliance arrangements on passenger equipment.
Although FRA has remained consistent in its prohibition on the weldment of safety appliances and their supports, a significant amount of passenger equipment has been manufactured and used in revenue service for a number of years with safety appliances being attached to the car body using some form of welding. Currently, FRA is aware of approximately 3,000 passenger cars or locomotives that have safety appliances or safety appliance brackets or supports welded to the body of the equipment. Some units of this equipment were introduced into service within the last few years; others have been in service for more than a decade. Some of the 3,000 units noted above have been the subject of formal waiver requests pursuant to the provisions contained in 49 CFR Part 211. See Docket Numbers FRA20008588 and FRA20008044.
In an effort to fully develop the issues relating to the welding of safety appliances on existing passenger equipment, FRA conducted an informal safety inquiry and subsequently submitted the issue to RSAC in this proceeding. On June 17, 2003, an informal safety inquiry was held in Washington, DC, where all interested parties were permitted to express their concerns relating to FRA's longstanding interpretation prohibiting welded of safety appliance arrangements. Representatives from APTA, AAR, consultants, manufacturers, and union representatives gave presentations or provided comments expressing their points of interests or concerns. FRA also referred the issue to the RSAC process in this proceeding, which in turn assigned the issue to the mechanical Task Force, to aid in developing and determining if there is a practical application where welding may be suitable and to consider methods by which FRA could revise or clarify its position for future guidance and regulatory standards. Although the Task Force engaged in productive discussions and developed considerable information relating to the issue, the Task Force could not reach a consensus on any recommendation. Consequently, on October 27, 2004, FRA withdrew the task related to the consideration of handling the attachment of safety appliances on passenger equipment from the RSAC and decided to proceed with the development of a regulatory proposal unilaterally.
At the safety inquiry and the discussions within the Task Force,
ATPA and its primary members all indicated that FRA needs to provide
clarity and guidance to the industry relating to passenger car safety
appliance arrangements, particularly in the area of attaching brackets
and supports. FRA considered issues ranging from the initial
manufacturing stage to the actual expected life cycle of a weld and the
environment in which the equipment operates. FRA acknowledges that
freight and passenger operations involve significantly different
environments from a safety appliance standpoint, and likely justifies
an allowance for welded safety appliance brackets and supports and in
other instances where the design of a vehicle necessitates such use. In
most cases, passenger equipment is inspected on a more regular basis,
generally used in captive type service, and experiences far less
coupling and uncoupling associated with switching moves inherent in freight operations. FRA also
recognizes that it would be extremely costly to the passenger industry to require existing equipment to be retrofitted with new safety appliances when the existing welded attachments have not shown a proclivity for failure at this time.
Based on the information and views provided at both the informal safety inquiry and through the RSAC, FRA proposed provisions in the NPRM to clarify FRA's existing interpretations of the safety appliance regulations and to provide the passenger rail industry some latitude for existing passenger equipment with welded safety appliance brackets or supports in lieu of retrofitting nearly onethird of the fleet. The NPRM proposed a detailed inspection and repair program for existing passenger equipment with welded safety appliances or welded safety appliance brackets or supports. The NPRM also sought comments and information from interested parties on a variety of questions and concerns relating to both the proposed provisions and the general use of welding as a means of attaching safety appliance brackets and supports. See 70 FR 73077. The NPRM indicated FRA's willingness to consider certain welded safety appliance brackets and supports to be part of a car's body if viable and enforceable specifications could be developed that would ensure the safe and reliable attachment of such brackets and supports.
FRA received comments from two parties regarding the proposed provisions and in response to the questions presented. BRC submitted comments requesting that FRA continue its prohibition on welding of safety appliances and require that safety appliances be mechanically fastened. BRC indicated that this approach would be consistent with FRA's historical application of the regulations. BRC stated that it was not convinced that welding was an effective manner of securement due to vibration and flex occurring on equipment while in transit. BRC provided several historical examples of instances when FRA took exception to certain welded safety appliances. FRA notes that the examples cited by BRC involved either instances of direct welding of the safety appliances to a car body, welding of safety appliances on freight equipment, or welding not conducted in accordance with any acceptable welding standard. BRC requested that if any change were made to the existing welding prohibition that they only be considered after the initiation and implementation of strict safety procedures covering the inspection, and repair of such welds as well as the qualifications and training of the individuals responsible for inspecting and welding such appliances.
APTA's comments focused almost exclusively on the proposed
provisions related to the welding of safety appliance brackets and
supports. In response to questions asked in the NPRM, APTA provided
detailed specifications for use by FRA for determining when a welded
safety appliance bracket or support could be considered part of the
car's body. These specifications included the strength, size,
attachment, design criteria, and quality control procedures that any
welded attachment would be required to meet. APTA comments fully discussed the implications and basis for its recommended
specifications. APTA seeks to have these welding specifications applied to both new and existing equipment. APTA also sought to have the definition of what constitutes a defective weld clarified. APTA asserts that only a crack in a weld should be considered a defect and that anomalies in welds should not be considered. APTA contends that, if an anomaly is significant, it will eventually lead to a crack in the weld.
APTA again noted that it believes both FRA and BRC are operating under two serious misconceptions relating to welding. The first is that the failure mode of welds used to attach a safety appliance and their related brackets or supports is difficult to detect. APTA asserts that failure of these welds is rare and even if there is a failure it will start with a small crack that grows very slowly. In the unlikely event that a crack were to even develop, it would take months or years for failure of the weld to occur. These cracks would be easy to detect with the visual inspections performed on safety appliances by railroads on a daily basis. The second misconception is that weld will have a higher failure rate toward the end of the life cycle of a piece of equipment. APTA asserts that older welds do not fail at any higher rate than newer welds. The endurance limits designed into these welds are so high that the welds will not fatigue over time regardless of number of stress cycles that occur. Because of this, there is no data available to FRA that show a higher failure rate due to the age of the weld. APTA also stressed that it was not advocating welding a safety appliance directly to a car body except in the limited circumstances identified in the NPRM when the design of the equipment makes it impossible to mechanically fasten the safety appliance.
Based on consideration of these comments as well as previous information provided to FRA, the final rule is modifying some of the provisions proposed in the NPRM related to the attachment of safety appliances on passenger equipment. The final rule retains many of the provisions proposed in the NPRM but is being expanded to adopt APTA's recommendations for determining when a welded safety appliance bracket or support will be considered part of the car body and the definition of a defective weld. FRA believes that welding technologies have improved significantly over the last several decades. In addition, passenger operations provide a unique environment suitable to the use of welding as a means of attachment in certain situations. Moreover, FRA believes that APTA has provided a viable and enforceable specification for ensuring that welded safety appliance brackets and supports are securely, safely, and reliably attached to the equipment on which it is placed. Volpe reviewed the welding specifications at FRA's request and confirmed that safety appliance brackets or supports welded to the car body in accordance with the standards recommended by APTA would be at least as secure and reliable as a bracket or support attached with a mechanical fastener. FRA further believes that BRC's concerns are addressed by the final rule provisions because the final rule will only consider welded safety appliance brackets or supports to be part of the car body if stringent and verifiable standards are utilized when making the welded connection. In addition, the final rule will allow existing equipment with welded brackets or supports to continue in service only if it is inspected and repaired in accordance with the strict inspection and repair provisions contained in the rule. Consequently, FRA is including APTA's recommended specifications related to welded safety appliance brackets and supports in this final rule with slight modification for clarity and enforceability.
The final rule also retains the proposed provisions providing the
industry with the ability to develop standards relating to the safety
appliance arrangements on new cars of special construction. FRA did not
receive any comments on the proposed provisions and is retaining them
in this final rule without change. Throughout the Railroad Safety
Appliance Standards, currently contained in 49 CFR part 231;
specifically, Sec. 231.12Passengertrain cars with wide vestibules; Sec. 231.13Passengertrain
cars with openend platforms; Sec. 231.14Passengertrain cars without end platforms; and Sec. 231.23Unidirectional passengertrain cars adaptable to vantype semitrailer use, there may be
inconsistencies and/or opportunities for clarification in the construction of newly built passenger equipment. Many times, it is necessary to reference two or more sections of 49 CFR part 231 to determine if a newly constructed passenger vehicle meets the minimum requirements of the Federal regulations. However, criteria for most of today's new types of passenger car construction are found within 49 CFR 231.18Cars of special construction. This results from the fact that modern technology in construction of carbuilding often does not lend itself to ready application of the current 49 CFR 231 requirements. Rather, the designer must adapt several different requirements to meet as closely as possible construction of specific safety appliance arrangements in order to obtain compliance.
Most passenger cars today are constructed outside the United States, and this has exacerbated the problem of varying interpretations of regulations and resulting safety appliance arrangements. At times, different requirements are applied to cars of similar design where both could have been constructed in the same manner. Substantial resources are spent on a regular basis by all parties concerned in review sessions to determine if a car is in compliance prior to construction; and even when the cars are delivered, problems have arisen.
In an attempt to limit these problems, the final rule contains a method by which the industry may request approval of safety appliance arrangements on new equipment considered to be cars of special construction under 49 CFR part 231. The final rule will permit the industry to develop standards to address many of the new types of passenger equipment introduced into service. The final rule requires any such standards, and supporting documentation to be submitted to FRA for agency approval pursuant to the special approval process already contained in the regulation. The final rule makes clear that any approved standard will be enforceable against any person who violates or causes the violation of the approved standards and that the penalty schedule contained in Appendix A to 49 CFR part 231 will be used as guidance in assessing any applicable civil penalty. The goal of the regulation is to develop consistent safety appliance standards for each new type of passenger car not currently identified in the Federal regulations that ensures the construction of suitable safety appliance arrangements in compliance with 49 CFR part 231. FRA believes the final rule will reduce or eliminate reliance upon criteria for cars of special construction, will improve communication of safety appliance requirements to the industry, and will facilitate regulatory compliance where clarification or guidance is necessary.
Portions of the final rule relating to new passenger equipment are already progressing. By letter dated September 2, 2005, FRA requested APTA to determine if it is feasible to form a group to specifically develop potential safety appliance standards for newly manufactured passenger equipment and provide guidance where existing Federal regulations are not specific to the design of a passenger car or locomotive. On October 11, 2005, APTA informed FRA that it is willing to undertake this effort and began conducting meetings in early 2006. FRA believes this approach provides an excellent avenue to take advantage of the knowledge and expertise possessed by rail operators and equipment manufactures when considering safety appliance arrangements on new passenger equipment of unique design. Under the provisions retained in this final rule, the standards and guidance developed by this group will need to be submitted to and approved by FRA pursuant to the special approval provisions contained at Sec. 238.21.
E. Securement of Unattended Equipment
The NPRM proposed various provisions related to the securement of unattended equipment. FRA did not receive any comments on the proposed provisions other than APTA's concurrence that the proposal appropriately captures existing practices of passenger railroads. Thus, this final rule retains the proposed provisions without change. FRA believes that the rational for addressing these issues on freight operations is equally applicable to passenger operations. The preamble to the final rule related to 49 CFR part 232 contains an indepth discussion of the need to address these issues. See 66 FR 41564158 (January 17, 2001). The approach proposed in the NPRM and retained in this final rule is also consistent with the guidance contained in FRA Safety Advisory 971. See 62 FR 49046 (September 15, 1997). Further, FRA is aware of several incidents on passenger and commuter operation involving the running away or inadvertent movement of unattended equipment.
As passenger train consists are much shorter and do not possess the tonnage associated with freight trains, the final rule modifies the provisions contained in 49 CFR part 232 to make them more readily applicable to passenger operations. The requirements contained in this final rule are consistent with and based directly on current passenger industry practice. Thus, in FRA's view, they will have no economic or operational impact on passenger operations but will ensure that these best practices currently adopted by the industry are followed and complied with by making them part of the Federal regulations.
The final rule requires that unattended equipment be secured by applying a sufficient number of hand or parking brakes to hold the equipment and will require railroads to develop and implement a process or procedure to verify that the applied hand or parking brakes will hold the equipment. The final rule also prohibits a practice known as ``bottling the air'' in a standing cut of cars. The practice of ``bottling the air'' occurs when a train crew sets out cars from a train with the air brakes applied and the angle cocks on both ends of the train closed, thus trapping the existing compressed air and conserving the brake pipe pressure in the cut of cars they intend to leave behind. This practice has the potential of causing, first, an unintentional release of the brakes on these cars and, ultimately, a runaway. A full discussion of the hazards related to this practice is contained in the preamble to the final rule related to freight power brakes. See 66 FR 415657. Virtually all railroads currently prohibit this practice in their operating rules.
The final rule also mandates a minimum number of hand or parking
brakes that must be applied on an unattended locomotive consist or
train. Due to the relatively short length and low tonnage associated
with passenger trains, FRA does not believe that the more stringent
provisions contained in Sec. 232.103(n)(3) are necessary in a
passenger train context. Thus, the final rule only requires that at
least one hand or parking brake be applied in these circumstances;
however, the number of applied hand or parking brakes will vary
depending on the process or procedures developed and implemented by
each covered railroad. In addition, the final rule requires railroads
to develop and implement procedures for securing locomotives not
equipped with a hand or parking brake and instructions for securing any
locomotive left unattended. As noted previously, FRA is not aware of any railroad which does
not already have the required procedures or processes in place. Thus, FRA believes that these requirements will impose no burden on passenger operations covered by 49 CFR part 238.
In addition to addressing specific issues relating to securing
unattended equipment, the final rule also incorporates and adopts the
industry's best practices related to the inspection and testing of hand
and parking brakes. The final rule requires that the hand or parking on
other than MU locomotives be inspected no less frequently than every
368 days and that a record (either stencil, blue card, or electronic)
be maintained and provided to FRA upon request. The final rule also
requires the application and release of the hand or parking brake at
each periodic mechanical inspection of passenger cars and unpowered
vehicles under Sec. 238.307 and requires a complete inspection of
these components every 368 days, with a record being maintained of this
annual inspection. The inspection and testing intervals as well as the
stenciling and record keeping requirements retained in the final rule
are consistent with the current practices in the industry and will impose no additional burden on the industry.
V. SectionbySection Analysis
Amendments to 49 CFR Part 229
Section 229.5 Definitions
The final rule is retaining the proposed technical clarification to the definition of ``MU locomotive'' contained in this section. FRA did not receive any comments on this proposed modification. Thus, FRA is retaining the modification in this final rule without change. Section 229.5 contains a number of definitions that define different types of locomotives covered by the various provisions contained in part 229. These include the general definition of ``locomotive'' as well as various types of locomotives including: ``control cab locomotive,'' ``DMU locomotive,'' and ``MU locomotive.'' Representatives of various railroads and equipment manufacturers have expressed concern over these definitions, contending that they were confusing and contained some overlap making it difficult to determine which category a particular locomotive fell within.
The definition of ``MU locomotive'' was recently reissued in its full length when the final rule on Locomotive Event Recorders was published on June 30, 2005. See 70 FR 37939. Subparagraph (2) of the current definition identifies an MU locomotive as ``a multiple unit operated electric locomotive * * * (2) without propelling motors but with one or more control stands.'' This portion of the MU locomotive definition is identical to the definition of ``control cab locomotive.'' In an effort to add clarity and to definitively distinguish a MU locomotive from a control cab locomotive, the final rule adds some limiting language to the definition of what constitutes a MU locomotive. Historically, FRA has only considered a locomotive without propelling motors to be a MU locomotive if it has the ability to pickup primary power from a third rail or a pantograph. Consequently, the final rule adds this language to the existing definition of MU locomotive to make it consistent with FRA's historical enforcement and interpretation of the regulation.
Section 229.31 Main Reservoir Tests
The final rule retains the proposed amendments to paragraphs (a) and (c) of this section to provide the manufacturers of main reservoirs the option to test main reservoirs pneumatically rather than hydrostatically as currently mandated. Other than APTA's comments supporting the provisions, FRA received no comments on the proposed amendments. The modifications will permit a main reservoir to receive a pneumatic test before it is originally placed in service or before an existing main reservoir is placed back in service after being drilled. As discussed in detail in Section B of the Technical Background portion of this document, the ASME code currently utilized by all manufacturers of main reservoirs allows for the pneumatic testing of the reservoirs when the introduction of liquid cannot be tolerated. The introduction of water to perform hydrostatic testing on main reservoirs creates a problem because if the liquid is not completely removed and the reservoir interior completely dried, the moisture results in poor adhesion or a lower coating of film than required. This condition has the potential of causing interior corrosion and premature failure of the reservoir.
The rationale for originally requiring that the main reservoirs be tested hydrostatically was based on the safety concerns should a main reservoir catastrophically fail during the testing. The likelihood of injury is minimized by having the reservoir filled with a liquid rather than air. However, since the original drafting of the locomotive regulations, manufacturers of reservoirs have implemented and developed both equipment and procedures to ensure that test personnel are adequately shielded when conducting the testing. The manufacturers have been performing pneumatic testing on reservoirs for years and FRA is not aware of any injury related to such testing in manufacturer controlled facilities. Thus, the safety concerns originally attached to pneumatic testing have been minimized, if not eliminated, when conducted at properly equipped manufacturer facilities.
In addition to the safety benefits related to pneumatic testing, FRA recognizes that all passenger car main reservoirs are pneumatically tested after fabrication and before the application of an interior protective coating. This process is utilized so that reservoirs may be repaired if the reservoir does not pass the initial the test requirements. If the interior protective coating were to be applied prior to testing, any weld repairs could not be performed, as the interior coating would be damaged. Thus, in recognition of current industry practice and in an effort to provide compliance options that are beneficial from a safety perspective, the final rule will to permit the manufacturers of main reservoirs to utilize pneumatic testing to meet the requirements contained in paragraphs (a) and (c) of this section. FRA believes that this flexibility increases both the safety and efficiency of testing newly manufactured main reservoirs and reservoirs that are newly drilled and tested at a manufacturer's facility.
It should be noted that the final rule limits the ability to
conduct pneumatic testing of the main reservoirs to only those
facilities with appropriate safeguards in place to ensure the safety of
the personnel conducting the testing. After a reservoir is installed on
a locomotive, FRA believes that hydrostatic testing would be the only
testing method that adequately ensures the safety and protection of the
personnel that are performing the test or working near the installed
reservoir. In order to make this intent clear, paragraph (c) contains
language that plainly states that pneumatic testing of a reservoir
currently in use and newly drilled may only be conducted by a
manufacturer of main reservoirs in a suitably safe environment. In
other circumstances, a hydrostatic test of the reservoir must be conducted.
Section 229.47 Emergency Brake Valve
Section 229.137 Sanitation, General Requirements
The final rule is retaining the proposed technical clarification to paragraph (b) of Sec. 229.47 and paragraph
(b)(1)(iv) of Sec. 229.137. FRA did not receive any comments on these proposed clarifications and is retaining them in this final rule without change. FRA is making these clarifications in order to ensure that these sections are consistent with the new definition of ``DMU locomotive.'' The recently published final rule on Locomotive Event Recorders added the definition of ``DMU locomotive'' to 49 CFR part 229. See 70 FR 37920 (June 30, 2005). This definition was added to part 229 in order to specifically identify dieselpowered multiple unit locomotives. These types of locomotives are just starting to be used by a small number of passenger railroads and FRA wants to be sure that they are adequately addressed by the safety standards contained in part 229. As these types of locomotives are fairly unique, they do not fit cleanly within the regulations as they pertain to traditional locomotives and MU locomotives. In some instances they are treated as traditional locomotives and in others they are treated as MU locomotives. In an effort to clarify the applicability of various provisions contained in part 229, FRA is amending Sec. Sec. 229.47 and 229.137 to specifically state that DMU locomotives are covered by these provisions. These clarifications are consistent with FRA's historical application of the regulations to DMU locomotives.
Amendments to 49 CFR Part 238
Section 238.5 Definitions
The final rule retains the proposed clarifying amendments to the definitions section contained in part 238 by revising the definition of ``actuator'' currently contained in regulation and by adding a new definition for ``piston travel indicator.'' FRA did not receive any comments in response to the proposed amendments and is retaining them in this final rule without change. The term ``actuator'' used by FRA in the Passenger Equipment Safety Standards final rule is a term that many members
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT
George Scerbo, Office of Safety Assurance and Compliance, Motive Power & Equipment Division, RRS14, Mail Stop 25, Federal Railroad Administration, 1120 Vermont Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20590 (telephone 2024936247), or Thomas J. Herrmann, Deputy Assistant Chief Counsel, Office of Chief Counsel, Mail Stop 10, Federal Railroad Administration, 1120 Vermont Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20590 (telephone 2024936036).