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Remote Control Locomotive Technology Public Safety Advisory Remote Control Locomotives Put Los Angeles Residents At Risk! Why are we here today?

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remote control locomotive technology public safety advisory
Remote Control Locomotive TechnologyPublic Safety Advisory

Remote Control Locomotives Put Los Angeles Residents At Risk!

why are we here today
Why are we here today?
  • To discuss the BLE’s public safety concerns regarding Union Pacific’s implementation of remote control train operations at their Los Angeles Terminal Operations
  • To inform this committee of the potential dangers that are associated with Remote Control Locomotive Technology
  • To help facilitate a process which will ensure the safest implementation of this technology
why should you be concerned
Why should you be concerned
  • Railroads are major transporters of hazardous materials and deadly chemicals
  • On 2-14-01 the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) released a Safety Advisory which states, “FRA has limited data on which to base an objective safety analysis and must therefore proceed prudently”, regarding remote control operations
  • Since implementing this technology U.S. railroads have experienced numerous Remote Control Locomotive (RCL) related accidents
FRA safety recommendation for notifying railroad workers and the public of Remote Control Locomotive Operations

Is this adequate protection?

emergency responders
Emergency Responders
  • Emergency responders need to be made aware of the heightened danger that is associated with Unmanned Remote Control Locomotive operations
  • Situation Awareness – With remote control operations, there is no longer an engineer in the locomotive cab to respond to crisis
  • Should the ground person remotely operating the locomotive be involved in an accident or hazardous spill, that person may not be able to respond if he or she is rendered incapacitated
rco accident
RCO – Accident

Cars being switched by RCO ran into Trim Locomotive

June 9, 2002 (UP) Hinkle Yard – Hermiston, OR

rco accident24
RCO – Accident

Approximately 400 gallons of highly flammable liquid fuel Naphtha leaked from this tank car containing 25,000 gallons of the hazardous material when three cars derailed in a remote control wreck.The Cumberland Fire Department and the Allegany County Hazardous Incident Response Team responded to control the leaking hazmat.

November 1, 2001 (CSX) Cumberland, MD

rco accident25
RCO – Accident

These cars were unknowingly uncoupled by the remote operation, rolled out of the hump yard and collided with the cars they uncoupled from at 25 MPH, derailing 17 cars. The derailed cars hit another train on one main line derailing 3 cars on that train. The main line on the other side of the wreck was also blocked. Amtrak regularly travels on that main line.

December 21, 2002 (BNSF) Yard – Galesburg, IL

rco accident26
RCO – Accident

A remote control locomotive and several cars rolled downhill 3 miles before colliding with a tractor trailer at the entrance of a lumber mill. August 6, 2002 (Puget Sound & Pacific) – Shelton, WA

rco accident27
RCO – Accident

This Remote Control

Operator said he

pressed the stop

button, but the train

didn’t stop. Notice

the Hazmat placard

on the car that


on the rails.

October 31, 2002 (BNSF) - Lincoln, NE

The following cities and counties have banned remote control locomotives from operating in their communities;
baton rouge rco wreck
Baton Rouge RCO Wreck
  • On February 13, 2003, just five months after the Metro Council voted to ban remote-controlled locomotives in Baton Rouge, an unmanned train involving empty chemical cars derailed on a highway overpass, damaging cars below and closing Interstate 110 for over 12 hours.
  • After the accident, Mayor Pro Tempore Lorri Burgess said, "I don't want Baton Rouge to make the stories that get told from California to New York about train wrecks. We're the first in doing something right. Now this should give more credibility to our resolution.“
government regulation
Government Regulation
  • Currently there are no rules or regulations mandated for remote control operations
  • The FRA and DOT have turned a blind eye to the accidents and incidents involving RCO
  • Responsible government agencies and citizens need to contact the Federal Government to force the FRA to implement responsible rules and regulations for remote control operations
what would a responsible rco implementation look like
What would a responsible RCO implementation look like?

The BLE maintains that a responsible RCO implementation is one that weighs the public safety issues and the negative impact that the implementation of remote controlled train operations could have on your community. We are asking that the elected representatives of Los Angeles create a forum and begin an educational process which brings all of the parties into the RCLT debate in order to create a public awareness and better understanding of this issue.

  • The BLE is asking all City, County, State and Federal government entities to actively participate in a process which directs the FRA to establish comprehensive and mandatory safety regulations for the use of Remote Control Locomotive Technology.
  • Contact: The Honorable Alan Rutter
    • Federal Railroad Administrator
    • U.S. Department of Transportation
    • 400 Seventh Street, N.W.
    • Washington, D.C. 20590
  • Phone:202-366-0881
  • Re: Petition the FRA for Rulemaking on the Use of Remote Control Locomotives - Docket No. FRA-00-8422