Two Louisiana counties oppose remote control

Two counties in Louisiana have joined the growing list of communities to adopt safety-related resolutions regarding remote control locomotives.

Formally known as Parishes in Louisiana, West Baton Rouge Parish and Point Coupee Parish recently passed resolutions that call for improved safety of remote control locomotives. Nationwide, six counties and 12 cities have now adopted resolutions that condemn, ban or oppose current remote control operations.

The Point Coupee resolution "objects" to the operation of remote control locomotives within Parish boundaries. The West Baton Rouge resolution calls upon the Federal Railroad Administration to develop comprehensive regulations for the use of remote control locomotives.

According to Louisiana State Legislative Board Chairman Michael F. O'Brien, the Point Coupee resolution passed despite a personal presentation by Union Pacific Railroad officials. It was adopted unanimously.

Brother O'Brien also reported that the West Baton Rouge Police Jury heard the BLE's presentation on February 12 - the same day as a Kansas City Southern remote control locomotive derailed in Baton Rouge and shut down Interstate 110 for several hours.

Brother O'Brien expressed special thanks to Brother Dale Guillot, Local Chairman of Division 531; Paul Lilly, Legislative Representative of Division 531; and Brother Lawrence Henagan, Legislative Representative of Division 755 in representing the Louisiana State Legislative Board.

Text of the resolutions are as follows:


West Baton Rouge Parish, La.

A Resolution requesting the Federal Railroad Administration in the interest of the safety of the citizens of West Baton Rouge to develop comprehensive regulations for the use of remote control locomotives.

WHEREAS, railroads operate within the geographical boundaries of West Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana, over public and private highway crossings, and

WHEREAS, railroad equipment is known to present significant danger to persons and property from collision, derailment, and possible release of hazardous material.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the West Baton Rouge Parish Council does hereby request in the interest of safety of the citizens of said Parish the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) develop comprehensive regulations for the use of remote control locomotives.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that certified copies of this resolution also be forwarded to the Louisiana Congressional Delegation for their expression of support in the development of these regulations for the use of remote control locomotives.

APPROVED 8-0, March 13, 2003


Point Coupee Parish, La.

WHEREAS, It is the intention of the Union Pacific Railroad Company to use remote-controlled locomotives within their railyard beginning in 2004; and

WHEREAS, the Point Coupee Parish Police Jury is concerned for the safety of its citizens should an accident involving toxic materials occur; and

WHEREAS, it is a substantiated fact that accidents do occur with these remote-controlled locomotives, as with the February 12, 2003 derailment in Baton Rouge, Louisiana: Therefore be it

RESOLVED, that the Point Coupee Parish Police Jury does interpose objections to the operation of remote-controlled locomotives in Point Coupee Parish; and be it

RESOLVED further, That a copy of this Resolution be forwarded to the United States Senators John Breaux and Mary Landrieu, House of Representative Richard Baker, State Senator Robert Marionneaux, Jr., Representatives Robert Carter and Donald Cazayoux, Jr., and municipalities within our Parish for their support of this endeavor.

APPROVED February 25, 2003


© 2003 Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers