Graham-Cassidy amendment ACA


CP Topanga 09/12/08


 Im sure we all remember this day and how it changed our lives, this was the beginning of 2.21, PTC , TIR and Inward facing cameras. This all started from a crew member being complacent, getting distracted and not doing his job. because of this 25 people lost their life .


When your on duty put your phone away, make sure all crew members have done the same. If there are any brothers who refuse to comply STOP THE TRAIN.



  • Executive Summary NTSB

    About 4:22 p.m., Pacific daylight time, on Friday, September 12, 2008, westbound

    Southern California Regional Rail Authority Metrolink train 111, consisting of one locomotive and three passenger cars, collided head-on with eastbound Union Pacific Railroad freight train LOF65–12 near Chatsworth, California. The Metrolink train derailed its locomotive and lead passenger car; the UP train derailed its 2 locomotives and 10 of its 17 cars.

    The force of the collision caused the locomotive of train 111 to telescope into the lead passenger coach by about 52 feet. The accident resulted in 25 fatalities, including the engineer of train 111.

    Emergency response agencies reported transporting 102 injured passengers to local hospitals. Damages were estimated to be in excess of $12 million.

    The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the

    September 12, 2008, collision of a Metrolink commuter train and a Union Pacific freight train was the failure of the Metrolink engineer to observe and appropriately respond to the red signal aspect at Control Point Topanga because he was engaged in prohibited use of a wireless device, specifically text messaging, that distracted him from his duties.

    Contributing to the accident was the lack of a positive train control system that would have stopped the Metrolink train short of the red signal and thus prevented the collision.

    The safety issues identified during this accident investigation are as follows:

    • Inadequate capability, because of the privacy offered by a locomotive operating

    compartment, for management to monitor crewmember adherence to operating rules

    such as those regarding the use of wireless devices or the presence of unauthorized

    persons in the operating compartment.

    • Lack of a positive train control system on the Metrolink rail system.

    As a result of its investigation of this accident, the National Transportation Safety Board

  Senator Backed by Rail Companies Introduces New Bill That Would De-Regulate Rail Industry


A new bill by one of the rail industry’s favorite senators looks to change how the industry is regulated to allow “market forces to improve rail safety.” In June, Sen. Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), who happens to chair the Senate Surface Transportation Subcommittee, introduced the Railroad Advancement of Innovation and Leadership with Safety (RAILS) Act.

In essence, the bill seeks to shift the rail industry toward a self-regulatory — and more difficult to enforce — approach to safety known as “performance-based regulation,” an effort first reported by DeSmog after a Congressional hearing in May.

In that hearing, Rep. Bill Shuster (R-PA) advocated for performance-based regulations for safety, saying that government should “allow the railroad industry to keep more of their profits.” That’s what you should expect when moving to a system relying on market forces to improve safety.

Speaking of market forces, it should come as no surprise that the top donor to Senator Fischer’s election campaigns is rail company Union Pacific. Or that four of her top eleven donors are rail companies, which include Berkshire Hathaway (owner of rail company BNSF), Norfolk Southern, and CSX.

That helps explain why she is pushing to allow the industry to self-regulate via performance-based regulations. Even in a pro-industry opinion piece in the publication RailwayAge, written by a former employee of rail lobbying group, the Association of American Railroads, it wasn’t possible to sell the bill without noting that it allows industry to regulate itself:

…performance-based safety standards mean rather than the [Federal Railroad Administration] prescribing particular actions, such as mileage-based brake tests and specific operations and maintenance procedures, the agency would specify a safety outcome — such as a maximum accident-type rate or component failure rate — and allow each railroad to devise its own cost-effective means of achieving that target.”

What could go wrong if you allow each railroad to devise its own cost-effective means of achieving safety? Let’s take a look at Exhibit A: Lac-Mégantic.

Lac-Mégantic: When ‘Market Forces’ Regulate Safety

Shortly after the deadly oil-by-rail disaster in Lac-Mégantic, Canada, a columnist at The Guardian stated, “the explosion in Lac-Mégantic is not merely a tragedy. It is a corporate crime scene.” There is a mountain of evidence to prove how corporate cost-cutting caused the July 2013 accident in the small Quebec town.

The fire on the locomotive that started the whole deadly chain of events was the result of cutting costs for engine repair. A report from the Transportation Safety Board of Canada stated that “This temporary repair had been performed using a polymeric material, which did not have the strength and durability required for this use.”  That was the first mistake due to cost-cutting shortcuts.

The company operating that oil train had also been allowed to run the trains with a single person crew. Another cost-saving measure that railroad labor unions oppose and one that the rail industry in America is lobbying hard to make standard.

And then there was the corporate policy of not using all of the braking systems in order to save time, which we wrote about on DeSmog last year:

What has been overlooked is the corporate policy of not engaging the “automatic brake” when leaving a train on the tracks. Harding [train engineer] set the independent brake and handbrakes but did not set the automatic brake because that was corporate policy.

The brakes he did apply were sufficient to hold the train. But then the locomotive caught fire that night and the fire department cut power to the locomotive, which led to the loss of pressure in the independent brake and the train “running away” down the hill towards Lac-Mégantic.

It would have taken Harding 10 seconds to engage the automatic brake. If this had been done, the train most likely would have remained in place until it was scheduled to continue the next morning. But company policy was to not engage the automatic brake even when parking a loaded train of explosive Bakken oil on a hill above a town. Why not?

Because while it only takes 10 seconds to engage the braking system, it takes between 15 minutes to an hour to disengage the system when the train is restarted the next day. And in the rail industry, time is money.

This is what happens when market forces drive safety precautions. And that is why it is accurate to describe Lac-Mégantic as a corporate crime scene.

‘Sound Science’ and ECP Braking

The new bill from Sen. Fischer include the section “Sound Science,” which requires that regulations be based on things like “appropriately validated models and formulas.” It does not mention how one goes about “appropriately” validating models and formulas.

This approach of claiming that safety regulations aren’t based on sound science or that the “science is still out”has already proven to be a very effective approach for delaying further safety measures for the rail and oil industries. It has been the main argument allowing the oil industry to continue to transportvia train a dangerous and volatile oil that could easily be stabilized and made safer to ship.

In the RailwayAge opinion piece supporting Fischer’s industry-friendly bill, it notes that the industry is particularly interested in rolling back the requirement to have electronically controlled pneumatic (ECP) brakes on oil trains, saying this regulation was “troubling to railroads and the scientific community.”

When DeSmog asked RailwayAge to provide evidence that the scientific community found the regulations requiring ECP braking “troubling,” the author of the piece — former Association of American Railroads (AAR) employee Frank Wilner — directed DeSmog to the Transportation Technology Center, Inc. According to its website this organization is “a wholly owned subsidiary of the Association of American Railroads.”

So, scientists on the payroll of the rail industry’s main lobbying group find a proven safety technology “troubling.” What should be more troubling to anyone concerned about rail safety is a bill introduced by a senator taking large amounts of money from the rail industry, a bill which is then promoted by not only the industry’s lobbying group but also a former lobbying group employee, claiming in an industry trade magazine that industry-paid scientists are the final word on safety.

As repeatedly noted on DeSmog, there is ample evidence that ECP brakes are safer.

But perhaps the strongest argument for ECP brakes is that they are required on trains hauling nuclear waste. Why would this be required if these brakes offer no safety benefits? In 2004, the AAR gave a presentation on why trains should be allowed to move spent nuclear fuel (SNF) and clearly noted that ECP brakes were important for safety. Yet 13 years later, this group is purporting that it is an unproven technology.

And that’s not all. There’s evidence that ECP brakes would have prevented the Lac-Mégantic disaster.

Performance-Based Regulation or Profit-Based Regulation?

Railroad rules have been written in blood.” This linecomes from the annual report of the Commissioner of Railroads for the state of Michigan — in 1901. It implied that safety rules were only implemented when enough blood had been spilled.

One hundred and fifteen years later, in an opinion piece on rail safety for CNN, rail expert Fred Failey essentially said the same thing, opening his piece with the statement, “The rules by which trains operate on American railroads were written in blood.”

Now, with over 100 years of history showing the rail industry’s refusal to implement safety measures until enough people have died, the industry is again pushing to regulate itself in order to avoid proven safety technologies for the sake of “keep[ing] more of their profits.” Congress and the anti-regulatory officials now in the Trump administration are working hard to allow this to happen.

The only performance that will improve when implementing performance-based regulations is the performance of railroad stock prices and the fundraising efforts of politicians like Sen. Deb Fischer.

Main image: Union Pacific locomotive Credit:

Trump to nominate Fortson to NMB

From railway age

Kyle Kirsten Hicks Fortson will be nominated by President Trump for one of two Republican seats on the National Mediation Board (NMB), according to a White House press release June 20. If formally nominated and confirmed by the Senate, she will inherit the remainder of a three-year term expiring July 1, 2019.

The NMB statute permits members to remain in office until they depart or their successor is confirmed by the Senate. Current Democrats Harry R. Hoglander and Linda Puchala are holdovers in seats that expired in July 2016.

Railway Age Washington correspondent Frank N. Wilner, who in mid-March reported Fortson as a possible nominee, expects a second Republican to be nominated before August, who he says is expected to be either Republican Gerald W. (Trey) Fauth III or Republican Vincent Frank Vernuccio, both of whom he identified as contenders in March.

Wilner says Democrat Puchala, who joined the NMB in 2009, likely will be renominated by Trump to a third term, with Hoglander, an NMB member since 2002, departing upon confirmation of one of the two new Republicans. The NMB’s lone Republican, Nicholas Geale, voluntary departed the NMB earlier this year for a Trump appointment in the Department of Labor not requiring Senate confirmation. Confirmation of both new Republican nominees will give the NMB its first Republican majority since 2009. The chairmanship of the NMB rotates among all three members annually.

Fortson, an attorney, has been labor policy director for the Senate Labor Committee since 2010, and from 2004 to 2010 was the committee’s labor counsel. Earlier in her career she was a policy analyst for the Senate Republican Policy Committee, legislative counsel to Sen. Tim Hutchinson (R-Ark.), and judiciary counsel Rep. Spencer Bauchus (R-Ala.). She earned an undergraduate degree in history from the University of Colorado in 1996, and a law degree from The George Washington University in 1999. Her husband, Joseph B. Fortson IV, is a congressional lobbyist—currently for consumer research firm Nielson, and previously for Apple—and a former counsel to the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

The three-member NMB is an independent federal regulatory agency administering the Railway Labor Act (applying to airlines as well as railroads). The agency provides mediation services for collective bargaining disputes, administers voluntary alternative dispute resolution programs, and manages binding arbitration in settlement of contract interpretation.

Regional Meetings June 04 – June 09


 I will be at the BLET Regional meetings in San Antonio

June 04 through June 09



in my Absence please contact

Vice Local Chairman Tony Duran 626-695-1887

or President Ron Danly 714-624-7473

or S/T Brian Hess 951-204-8966


I will be available most of the time, but for immediate concerns where you need an answer right now please contact Tony. for anything else leave me a message or text and I will get back to you as soon as Im able.

San Antonio Regional Meeting




a little History as we approach our 140th anniversary …


Image result for locomotive engineers journal 1918


Volume 52  JANUARY, 1918  Number 1

A Good Report from Division 5 Los Angeles. Ca. Aug. IS. 1918.

Editor Journal: At Los Angeles, California,


the Southern Pacific boys are rather shy and our name and number are seldom seen in the Journal, but the members are doing good work just the same, and since June 1st have been too busy organizing to write.


Under a special dispensation from Grand Chief Stone, the Division started in on the 1st of June, with the assistance of M. E. Montgomery, A. G. C. E., and M. H. Dinsmore, C. E., A. S. Lockwood, J. J. Norton, William Blakeman, and others, to organize the Pacific electric motormen.


The first class initiated was 65 members; 128 taking the work during the first day.


We have initiated a total of 550 members since June 1st, and now have a total membership in Div. 5 of 800 members.


We think we have the distinction of being the largest Division of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers in the world, at the present time, and perhaps the distinction of initiating more men in sixty (60) days than any other Division.


We have now 95% of the Pacific electric men in the Order, and since organizing them have succeeded, through the assistance of Brother Montgomery, in getting 25 men reinstated, who were dis charged without cause.


Have also secured a raise of .02 cents per hour and have procured pay of $1.50 per day for “students breaking in, ” and a guarantee of at least $90.00 per month for all extra men,


with an agreement whereby disciplined men shall have a right of appeal to the highest officials of the company and if not satisfied, then are granted an appeal to a Board of Arbitration, appointed by the Federal Court. While we have said little in the columns of the Journal, we are doing things worth while here for which the organizing committee, with the Brothers who assisted them, are deserving of a great deal of credit.


Visitors to Div. 5 are always welcome, and any Brother finding himself in Los Angeles on Friday night is invited to make it a point to meet with us, and we will extend to him the glad hand and a welcome that only enthusiastic, active working Brothers can give.



Fraternally yours,

C. P. Johnson, Member Div. 5.