Ohio county bans remote control

The Cuyahoga County Local Emergency Planning Committee recently adopted a resolution that calls for a moratorium on remote control trains and suggests that remotes be banned from switching operations that involve hazardous materials.

The Local Emergency Planning Committee for Cuyahoga County (LEPC), where Cleveland is located, is a local organization that plans and coordinates how safety crews will respond to emergencies involving hazardous substances. In Ohio, LEPCs have been established in all 88 counties and have been given new responsibilities following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

The resolution, passed on January 31, urges legislators to place a moratorium on remote control trains "until the safety and security issues raised by this technology have been thoroughly addressed and adequate regulations have been established."

The Cuyahoga County LEPC becomes the seventh local government agency to adopt a resolution calling for improved safety of remote control trains. The other include the city councils of Baton Rouge, La, Shreveport, La., Detroit, Mich., Marysville, Mich., Boston, and Cleveland.

LEPC resolution No. SARA 030106-02 also calls upon the Federal Railroad Administration to work with the Department of Homeland Security to establish regulations governing the operation of remote control trains. It urged that such regulations include:

1. Adequate crew size to insure safe and secure operation and switching service;

2. Prohibition of the use of remote control locomotives to operate and conduct switching operations to move trains with hazardous cargo; and

3. Requirements for high standards of training for operators of remote control technology.

Jim Ong, Chairman of the BLE's Ohio State Legislative Board, is credited with lobbying the Board to bring this serious safety matter to its attention. He thanked First Vice-Chairman Tim Hanely, Second Vice-Chairman Tim Price, and BLE Division 3 (Cleveland) Legislative Representative Bill Ellert for also playing important roles in lobbying on behalf of this issue.

Brothers Hanley and Price testified before the LEPC at a hearing in Cleveland on November 4.

The U.S. government stipulates that each community in the United States must be a part of a comprehensive plan regarding emergency response to hazardous material releases. LEPC members normally include representatives of police, fire, civil defense, public health, transportation and environmental professionals.


© 2003 Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers