Bakersfield, Calif. asks FRA for remote control regulations

Bakersfield, Calif., became the 10th American city to pass a resolution calling for improved safety of remote control locomotives.

The resolution, passed unanimously by City Council on February 26, urges the "California Public Utilities Commission and the Federal Railroad Administration to adopt regulations to ensure the safety and well-being of citizens of Bakersfield will not be jeopardized by the use of remote control locomotives."

The Union Pacific Railroad and the Burlington Northern Santa Fe began using remote control trains in Bakersfield and the surrounding areas several months ago.

The resolution further states that, "concern exists that regulations and guidelines for the use of these remote controlled locomotives should be clearly identified and safety issues addressed before wide-scale implementation of this program."

California State Legislative Board Chairman Tim Smith testified before the Bakersfield City Council along with several other BLE members, who played significant roles throughout the process, including: Richard Brand, President of BLE Division 126 (Bakersfield); Ron Marney, Legislative Representative of Division 126; and D.D. "Diz" Francisco, Second Vice-Chairman of the California State Legislative Board and Legislative Representative of BLE Division 739 (Bakersfield).

Bakersfield joins Beardstown, Ill., Baton Rouge, La., Shreveport, La., Detroit, Mich., Marysville, Mich., Boston, Mass., Cleveland, Ohio, Pine Bluff, Ark. and North Little Rock, Ark. in passing resolutions against remote control locomotives. Cuyahoga County in Ohio and Whitley County in Kentucky have also passed resolutions banning remote control trains.

Text of the resolution is as follows:

RESOLUTION 031-03

A resolution of the Council of the City of Bakersfield urging the California Public Utilities Commission and the Federal Railroad Administration to adopt regulations to ensure the safety and well-being of citizens of Bakersfield will not be jeopardized by the use of remote control locomotives.

WHEREAS, the City of Bakersfield has received information that a pilot program has been initiated relating to the use of remote controlled locomotives across the nation and recently in the City of Bakersfield, and

WHEREAS, a concern exists that regulations and guidelines for the use of these remote controlled locomotives should be clearly identified and safety issues addressed before wide-scale implementation of this program.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, by the Council of the City of Bakersfield in the State of California, that the California Public Utilities Commission and the Federal Railroad Administration are urged to adopt regulations to ensure the safety and well-being of citizens of Bakersfield will not be jeopardized by the use of remote control locomotives.

 

 

© 2003 Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers