• DTS.USA
    5.834
    -0.003
    -0.1%
  • NTI.USA
    2.850
    0.000
    0%
  • NTID.USA
    2.860
    -0.040
    -1.4%
  • NTIDL.USA
    1.960
    -0.040
    -2%
  • OTRI.USA
    7.950
    -0.050
    -0.6%
  • OTVI.USA
    12,710.370
    38.730
    0.3%
  • DTS.USA
    5.834
    -0.003
    -0.1%
  • NTI.USA
    2.850
    0.000
    0%
  • NTID.USA
    2.860
    -0.040
    -1.4%
  • NTIDL.USA
    1.960
    -0.040
    -2%
  • OTRI.USA
    7.950
    -0.050
    -0.6%
  • OTVI.USA
    12,710.370
    38.730
    0.3%
NewsRail

Michigan lawmakers introduce train crew size legislation

Federal regulators are developing a notice of proposed rulemaking on train crew staffing

Two Democratic state lawmakers in Michigan have introduced legislation that would require freight trains to have at least two individuals operating them.

State Rep. Tim Sneller introduced H.B.5596 and Sen. Erika Geiss introduced S.B. 767 on Dec. 2. Both bills have been referred to their respective transportation committees.

Both bills call for a railroad to operate a freight train or locomotive engine with no fewer than two crew members.

Members of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET) and the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail, and Transportation Workers (SMART-TD) were among those lobbying for the bills.

“Two members in a locomotive is common-sense legislation for the state of Michigan,” said B.J. Trumble, the BLET Michigan state legislative board chairman, in a statement Friday. “This legislation will make our state safer for train crews and the general public. BLET and SMART-TD have been attacking this issue from all angles with the legislators in Lansing and we are now waiting for hearing dates in the subcommittees.”

The debate over train crew size has been ongoing, with Amit Bose, deputy administrator of the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), testifying before Congress in September that his agency may take up the issue again. 

Indeed, FRA is the process of developing a notice of proposed rulemaking on train crew staffing. The rulemaking will address the potential safety impact of one-person train operations, including appropriate measures to mitigate an accident’s impact and severity, and the patchwork of state laws concerning minimum crew staffing requirements. It will also address the issue of minimum requirements for the size of different train crew staffs depending on the type of operations.

According to BLET, the state of Washington was the most recent state to enact a two-person crew bill. Washington Gov. Jay Inslee signed the bill into law on March 27, 2020. Other states where similar legislation was signed into law in 2019 include Illinois, Nevada and Colorado, according to BLET. 

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Click here for more FreightWaves articles by Joanna Marsh.

Joanna Marsh

Joanna is a Washington, DC-based writer covering the freight railroad industry. She has worked for Argus Media as a contributing reporter for Argus Rail Business and as a market reporter for Argus Coal Daily.