Seventh U.S. county opposes remote control

The Douglas County, Wisc., Board of Supervisors voted to oppose the use of remote control locomotives in the county on March 20, becoming the seventh U.S. county to enact such a resolution.

The resolution was submitted by two BLE members who are members of the County Board of Supervisors, James J. O'Brien of BLE Division 494 (Minneapolis) and James P. Cosgrove of BLE Division 861 (Itasca, Wisc.), along with another member of the Board of Supervisors, John Shepard, Sr.

O'Brien, a former Wisconsin State Legislative Board Chairman, was an outspoken proponent of the resolution and has been actively supporting further study of the safety and effectiveness of remote control locomotives.

The Board cited the contributions of the railroad industry to the economy of Douglas County, but acknowledged the dangers of unmanned operations. The Board agreed that the safety and well-being of their citizens and the environment merited further study of remote control.

The Board cited a lack of safety evidence in its decision to prohibit remote control operations in Douglas County.

Along with Douglas County, two parishes in Louisiana, West Baton Rouge Parish and Point Coupee Parish, recently passed remote control resolutions. Cuyahoga and Huron Counties in Ohio, Whitley County in Kentucky, and Unicoi County in Tenn. have also passed resolutions against remote control operations in recent months. In addition to the seven counties, 12 U.S. cities have passed resolutions opposing remote control locomotives - Bakersfield, Calif., Beardstown, Ill., Baton Rouge, La., Shreveport, La., Detroit, Mich., Marysville, Mich., Boston, Mass., Cleveland, Ohio, Pine Bluff, Ark., North Little Rock, Ark., Woodbridge, N.J. and Maple Heights, Ohio.

A copy of the resolution is on the BLE website:


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