Beardstown, Ill. bans remote control trains

Beardstown, Ill. is the ninth U.S. city to take action against remote control trains.

On February 18, the Beardstown City Council unanimously voted to ban remote control operations within the city limits until safety regulations have been improved.

The resolution cites the dangers to public safety that can result from remote control operations and the recent terrorism threats to railroads, which transport nuclear waste and other hazardous materials.

The City Council also cited the fact that remote control trains will be operated in Beardstown "by fewer employees who possess diminished qualifications" as one of the many reasons for passing the resolution.

The resolution lists safety considerations that must be met before remote control locomotives are allowed to operate in Beardstown. The resolution asks railroads to "provide effective and reliable protection at the point of movement in any location accessible to the general public for any remote control operation."

It also calls for the Federal Railroad Administration to issue comprehensive regulations for the use of remote control locomotives and "that those regulations ensure the highest level of skill and qualification of person operating remote control locomotives."

The resolution demands that railroads "cease and desist" from all remote control operations within the city limits until the city can adequately implement evacuation plans and emergency responses.

As of March 7, Beardstown joined 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.

Illinois State Legislative Board Chairman C.E. Way credited Brother M.W. Lehmkuhl of BLE Division 135 (Beardstown) for the success of the resolution. Lehmkuhl thanked the Mayor of Beardstown, Robert Walters, who was very helpful in getting this passed.

A copy of the resolution is available on the BLE website at:




© 2003 Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers