FRA drug, alcohol testing information on BLE website

In May, the Federal Railroad Administration issued information clarifying its post-accident alcohol and drug testing regulations for locomotive engineers and other train crew personnel. Additionally, the administration also published a list of frequently asked questions in order to help railroad workers understand the regulations.

This information - which covers such issues as exceptions to the rules, qualifications for a positive test and drugs tested for - was sent by the BLE's International Office to all General Chairmen and State Legislative Board Chairmen.

A copy of the six-page document is available on the BLE website at:

Signalmen vote down merger with Sheet Metal Workers

A majority of members of the Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen (BRS) voted against a merger with the Sheet Metal Workers' International Association, according to a June 7 report on the BRS website.

With just under 60 percent of BRS members returning ballots, the initial count of the ballots returned was 41 percent for and 59 percent against the merger.

The ballots were mailed to all BRS members on May 1. The cutoff date for receiving ballots was June 6, and no more ballots are being accepted.

The official and final count will be forthcoming after the BRS staff rechecks the count. The BRS news release, however, stated that the margin was wide enough that any variation between the preliminary and the final count will not reverse the outcome.

Residents sue CN after derailment forces evacuation

Ten people forced out of their homes last month by the derailment of a train carrying explosive liquid propane and toxic sulfuric acid are suing the Canadian National Railway Corp.

The lawsuit, filed on June 7 in Eaton County, Mich., accuses the railroad of negligence in the Memorial Day derailment in Potterville, Mich., about 12 miles southwest of Lansing.

The 2,200-resident town was evacuated for about four days. The cause of the derailment has not been determined.

Also named in the lawsuit, which seeks unspecified damages and class-action status, are Grand Trunk Western Railroad, a track engineer and an engineering superintendent.

New Amtrak chief proposes reorganization

Three weeks into the job, Amtrak's new president is proposing steps to reorganize management. David Gunn, the new president, wants to consolidate Amtrak's three railroad operating divisions - Intercity, Northeast Corridor and Amtrak West, which now are distinct business units - within company headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Under the plan, the existing division offices in Chicago, Philadelphia and Oakland, Calif., will remain open, but only to handle local operations, not to make policy decisions.

The intent, Gunn said, is to move Amtrak "back to a traditional railroad structure."

He also wants to reduce the number of "vice president" titles from 84 to about 20. The move is not immediately designed to slice jobs or save money, but to focus the company on its basic role as a railroad operator.


© 2002 Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers