Biden DOT Announces Requirement For 2-Person Crews On Freight Trains

"The U.S. Department of Transportation issued a final rule Tuesday increasing the minimum size for train crews to two people, a longtime ask for rail worker unions, which nearly led to a strike in 2022.

Under the final rule, all large freight railroads will be required to maintain crews of at least two people per train. Rail worker unions have called a two-worker minimum key in making sure crews are equipped to take proper safety precautions and prevent them from overexerting themselves.

“Common sense tells us that large freight trains, some of which can be over three miles long, should have at least two crew members on board — and now there’s a federal regulation in place to ensure trains are safely staffed,” Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said in a statement. “This rule requiring safe train crew sizes is long overdue, and we are proud to deliver this change that will make workers, passengers, and communities safer.”

Rail safety, and the specter of corner-cutting at the expense of safety, has come under intense scrutiny since February 2023, when a Norfolk Southern-operated train carrying toxic chemicals derailed in East Palestine, Ohio."

Zack Budryk reports for The Hill April 2, 2024.

Source: The Hill, 04/02/2024