Shreveport bans remote control

Becomes third major U.S. city to ban remotes; City council cites safety concerns

The city of Shreveport, La., became the third city in the United States to adopt legislation banning the use of remote control locomotives after a resolution passed by its City Council became effective on November 26.

The Shreveport City Council's resolution is similar to remote control locomotive safety measures already adopted in Baton Rouge, La., and Detroit, Mich. Other U.S. cities - including Greenup, Ky. - are also considering similar public safety regulations.

On December 2, the city of Marysville, Mich., adopted a resolution which did not ban remote control trains, but asked the Federal Railroad Administration to adopt enforceable regulations governing their operation (see article below for more details).

The Shreveport City Council adopted a resolution on November 12 - that became effective November 26 - outlawing the operation of remote control locomotives until certain safety considerations are met.

The Shreveport City Council resolved that those safety considerations are:

The resolution also asks the FRA to pass comprehensive and enforceable regulations governing the operation of remote control locomotives.

Michael F. O'Brien, Chairman of the Louisiana State Legislative Board, played a major role in passage of remote control safety legislation in Baton Rouge and Shreveport. He recognized the assistance of: BLE General Chairman Sam Parker, Kansas City Southern; Tim Windsor and Rodney Stutes, members of the BLE Mobilization Team; Bob Harvey, Regulatory Research Coordinator of the BLE's Washington D.C. Headquarters; Clifton Starks, President of BLE Division 599 (Shreveport, La.); and "everyone who has taken pictures and/or supplied written documented accounts of remote control locomotive incidents on the KCS and other carrier properties."

"Without this information available for presentation, I doubt that a serious argument could have been made regarding the safety issues associated with remote controlled locomotives in either Shreveport or Baton Rouge," Brother O'Brien said.

Text of the resolution is as follows:

Resolution No. 165 of 2002, introduced by Councilman Roy Burrell and voted Ayes-6, Nays-0, Absent-1 Adopted by City Council on November 12, 2002, Approved by Mayor on November 18, 2002 and effective on November 26, 2002 at 12:01 O'clock A.M.


Whereas: The City of Shreveport has a duty to provide for the public safety of its Citizens; and

Whereas: Railroads operate within the geographic boundaries of Shreveport, over public and private highway rail crossings; over and around Cross Lake and other public water supplies, and on property accessible to persons of all ages and abilities; and

Whereas: Railroad equipment is known to present significant danger to persons and property from collision, derailment, and possible release of hazardous materials; and

Whereas: a significant bulk of Kansas City Southern (KCS) Railroad's cargo is petrochemical and hazardous materials traveling through and being switched in Shreveport; and

Whereas: the United States government has issued a safety alert against vandalism and terrorists threats to railroads;

NOW, THEREFORE LET IT BE RESOLVED by the City Council of the City of Shreveport, that no railroad shall operate remote controlled locomotives within the boundaries of Shreveport until all of the following safety considerations are met.

1. Any railroad operating a remote control locomotive must notify the Office of Mayor before implementing such operations.

2. Remote control locomotives cannot be used to transport hazardous materials, switch cars containing hazardous materials, or switch other cars on or near tracks occupied by hazardous materials.

3. Remote control locomotives cannot by operated over a public or private highway rail crossing without a person occupying the cab of the locomotive who has the required skills to stop the locomotive and its attached equipment.

4. A railroad must provide effective and reliable protection at the point of movement in any location accessible to the general public for any remote control operation.

Be It Further Resolved, That the City of Shreveport requests that in the interest of the safety of the Citizens of Shreveport that the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) develop comprehensive regulations for the use of remote control locomotives.

Be It Further Resolved, that all remote control operations in Shreveport cease and desist until such time as the City of Shreveport, its agent, or assignee can study and have a plan in place for evacuation before such remote control is implemented.

Be It Further Resolved, that if any item or provision of this resolution or the application thereof is held invalid, such invalidity shall not affect other provisions, items or applications of this resolution which can be given effect without the invalid provisions, item or applications and to this end the provisions of this resolution are hereby declared severable.

Be It Further Resolved, that all resolutions or parts thereof in conflict herewith are hereby repealed.



© 2003 Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers