WASHINGTON — The head of the Federal Railroad Administration has warned Class I railroads that it will take enforcement action if they don’t make recommended improvements to their engineer and conductor training and certification programs.

Administrator Amit Bose, in a Jan. 5 letter to the chief executives of the Class I systems, said the FRA has taken a collaborative approach in its review of crew training and certification programs over the past 18 months.

Man in suit at microphone
FRA Deputy Administrator Amit Bose addresses
the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association conference.
David Lassen

“Some programs have been reviewed by FRA several times, and in some cases, the revisions to a program barely made incremental progress toward correcting the deficiencies that FRA took great care detailing in successive letters to the railroad,” Bose wrote.

“To encourage full compliance,” he adds, “please be advised that FRA is committed to pursuing enforcement action if a railroad’s resubmitted certification program continues to fail to address the deficiencies identified by FRA.”

Safety starts with properly trained crews and railroads meeting minimum training and qualification standards, he wrote.

The Class I railroads, particularly the big four U.S. systems, have been hiring conductors in greater numbers and more rapidly than ever as they work to solve widespread crew shortages. They have said they have not cut corners by shortening training programs.

Bose’s letter misspelled the first name of Canadian National CEO Tracy Robinson and the last name of CSX Transportation CEO Joe Hinrichs.