April 18, 2021
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The Federal Railroad Administration issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on May 8 to “clarify” locomotive engineer qualifications and ensure their certification process is aligned “consistently” with that of conductors.

“The proposed revisions would modernize locomotive engineer certification regulations to match those for train conductors … streamlining the engineer certification process and reducing paperwork burdens for the responsible parties,” noted FRA Administrator Ronald Batory in a statement.

[Above photo by Amtrak.]

The NPRM includes the following five proposed changes to Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Part 240:

  • Clarifies locomotive engineer certification requirements and aligns them with conductor certification requirements to make it easier for railroad certification managers to become familiar with and administer both regulations.
  • Reduces the reporting burden of a person’s former employer to clarify that only certain listed information in the individual’s railroad service record that directly relates to FRA’s requirements in the certification regulation needs to be shared.
  • Defers the requirement for railroads to seek a waiver from annual testing of certified locomotive engineers when individuals take an extended absence from performing service requiring certification.
  • Modernizes the dispute resolution process by reducing the paperwork burdens for both employees and railroads and allowing for web-based dockets.

Comments on this NPRM are due to FRA by July 8, the agency said.

editor@aashto.org

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