City of Boston bans remotes

The City of Boston has become the sixth U.S. city to take action against remote control locomotive operations. In a resolution by Councilor at-Large Stephen J. Murphy, the city demanded that railroads cease operations of remote control locomotives until safety considerations are met.

In its resolution, the council cited various safety concerns, including terrorism, public safety around the tracks, passenger rail safety and the lack of training by remote control operators. The council resolved to ask the FRA to create more comprehensive safety requirements and the city to prepare for emergencies.

The resolution by Boston follows similar resolutions passed by the city councils of Baton Rouge, La., Shreveport, La., Detroit, Mich., Marysville, Mich., and, most recently, Cleveland, Ohio.

BLE Massachusetts State Legislative Board Chairman George Newman lead the effort to get the Boston resolution introduced. He also credits Mass. SLBC Vice-Chairman Dan Lauzon, Secretary-Treasurer Walter Nutter, and the rest of the State Legislative Board Executive Committee; Bob Haynes, President of the Mass. AFL-CIO; Rich Rodgers, Political Director of the Mass. AFL-CIO; Tony Romano, Secretary-Treasurer of the Greater Boston Central Labor Council; Mass. State Senator Steven Tolman; and, especially, Boston City Councilor At-Large Murphy, who introduced the resolution.

"We're happy that the city council recognized the importance of keeping the public safe from this technology, especially around high-speed passenger rail lines," said Chairman Newman. "The council recognized that the employees operating this technology are insufficiently trained and the public needs to be protected from the dangers associated with the operation of remote control."

The full text of the resolution is published below:

City of Boston, In City Council

A Resolution of Councilor At-Large, Stephen J. Murphy

February 13, 2003

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

Whereas Railroads operate within the geographic boundaries of Boston over public and private highway rail crossings and on property accessible to persons of all ages and abilities; and

Whereas A significant amount of rail cargo traveling through and moving within the City of Boston consists of hazardous materials; and

Whereas Freight hauling railroads doing business within the City of Boston operate in switching yards and on tracks adjacent to and connecting with tracks carrying high-speed Amtrak and MBTA Commuter Rail passenger trains; and

Whereas The United States government has issued a safety alert with respect to vandalism and terrorist threats against railroads; and

Whereas The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has granted authority to the Railroads to operate unmanned (remote controlled) locomotives by persons who have been certified by the railroads under 49 CFR Part 240 but who have significantly less training, experience, testing and qualifications than individuals who have traditionally manned these operations; therefore be it

Resolved That no railroad shall operate remote controlled locomotives within the boundaries of the City of Boston until all of the following safety considerations are met:

And be it further Resolved That the City of Boston requests that the FRA develop comprehensive regulations to govern the use of remote controlled locomotives which shall ensure the highest level of training, skill, experience, and qualification for all persons operating remote controlled locomotives; and be it further

Resolved That all remote controlled locomotive operations within the City of Boston cease and desist until such time as all City of Boston agencies responsible for Emergency preparedness implements a plan to provide for evacuation and emergency response before such remote controlled operations are implemented. ·


© 2003 Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers