Senator Kennedy 'deeply concerned' about remotes

U.S. Senator Edward M. Kennedy said he is "deeply concerned about the growing threat to worker and public safety from the use of remote control technology" in a March 11 letter to Allan Rutter, Administrator of the Federal Railroad Administration.

The Senator was critical of the FRA's inaction and its refusal to meet with BLE leaders regarding the petition for a rulemaking on the remote control issue.

"It is time for the Federal Railroad Administration to act," he wrote. "The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers petitioned for rulemaking on the use of remote control devices on November 17, 2000, and has yet to receive a response. An FRA safety advisory in February 2001 contained only recommended guidelines, which are not enforceable."

The Senator also pointed to growing public concern over the use of remote control trains. He noted that a number of cities and towns across the United States have passed resolutions calling for a ban and/or improved safety regulations remote control trains.

"In Massachusetts, the Boston City Council passed a resolution on February 13, 2003, demanding that railroads halt the operation of remote control locomotives until safety considerations are met," Senator Kennedy wrote. "The resolution cites numerous safety concerns, including terrorism, public safety, passenger rail safety, and the lack of training by remote control operators."

Senator Kennedy ended his letter by urging Administrator Rutter to act quickly on the remote control issue before further accidents cause more injuries to additional railroad workers.

"We cannot continue to allow preventable accidents to threaten the lives of workers and the public," Senator Kennedy concluded. "I urge you to address these issues as quickly as possible, and make every effort to ensure that FRA follows through on its mission."

A copy of the Senator's letter is available on the BLE's website as a PDF:




© 2003 Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers