Citing numerous recent accidents caused in part by excessively long trains, the BLET has urged the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) to issue an Emergency Order establishing a maximum train length of 7,500 feet on the nation’s Class I railroads.

BLET National President Eddie Hall made the request in an October 9 letter to FRA Administrator Amit Bose. President Hall noted that five-mile long trains have recently been put into operation as Class I carriers pursue higher profits under the guise of Precision Scheduled Railroading (PSR). While train length has continued to grow, the Carriers have failed to provide any additional training to engineers regarding how to properly handle these “monstrous” trains.

President Hall acknowledged the FRA’s April 11 Safety Advisory, which instructed the Class I carriers to reexamine the issue of train length, but Hall said it doesn’t go far enough. He is now urging the FRA to act before it’s too late.

He wrote: “While placing a Safety Advisory can shine the necessary light on a safety problem, it cannot address the risks that have been added to the railroad industry due to very long trains. States are seeking legislative action to address the issue as well. This is taking more time than safety will allow. A regulatory standard is needed, but those take a very long time. For this reason, we are requesting an Emergency Order. BLET is also providing a copy of this letter to all Class 1 rail carriers requesting that they take immediate voluntary action to address the absence of a regulatory standard by adding a maximum train length of 7,500 feet to all trains operated. We do not want to wait until the next rail catastrophe to act.”