56th remote control safety resolution passed

As this issue of the Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen News goes to press, a total of 56 communities -- 41 cities and 15 counties -- have enacted remote control safety resolutions.

All resolutions call upon the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) to enact enforceable federal regulations - as opposed to recommended guidelines - to govern the operation of remote control trains.

Currently, the operation of remote control trains in the United States remains unregulated. To date, the FRA has only issued recommended guidelines for remote control train operations as opposed to federal regulations, which are enforceable in a court of law. Major railroad companies often ignore the FRA's recommended guidelines in the day-to-day operation of remote control trains.

Most recently, the cities of Janesville, Wisc., South Salt Lake City, Utah, and Fort Madison, Iowa, have passed safety resolutions calling upon the FRA to amend this terrible safety oversight.

Janesville, Wisc.

The city of Janesville, Wisc., recently passed a safety resolution opposing remote control train operations. The resolution calls on the Federal Railroad Administration to conduct a comprehensive review of the safety of remote control locomotives.

BLET Wisconsin State Legislative Board Chairman James Kinsman reported to the National Division that the Janesville resolution was passed unanimously.

Chairman Kinsman acknowledged the efforts of Brother A.M. "Tony" Dimond, Wisconsin State Legislative Board Second Vice Chairman, who "got the ball rolling" on the measure. Brother Dimond also serves as Legislative Representative of Division 176 in Adams, Wisc.

South Salt Lake City, Utah

The City Council of South Salt Lake City, Utah, unanimously passed a safety resolution that questions the unregulated use of remote control locomotives.

The City Council cited the high volume of toxic substances that pass through the city and in Union Pacific's Roper Yard as a reason for condemning the remote control operations.

According to Jeff Worthington, First Vice Chairman of the BLET's Utah State Legislative Board, Brother Mac Hunt of BLET Division 713 (Salt Lake City) was instrumental in the passage of the resolution. Brother Worthington also thanked Walt Webster, BLET Utah State Legislative Board Chairman, and Patrick Whalen, Utah State Legislative Board Secretary-Treasurer, for their help, hard work and support.

Fort Madison, Iowa

The City of Fort Madison, Iowa, unanimously passed a remote control safety resolution on May 18, thanks in part to the lobbying efforts of the BLET's Iowa State Legislative Board.

The Fort Madison resolution seeks to effectively ban the operation of trains by remote control within city limits until numerous safety improvements are made. The resolution also prohibits the transportation of hazardous materials by remote control locomotives.

Chuck Hintz, Chairman of the BLET's Iowa State Legislative Board, thanked Division 391 (Fort Madison) Legislative Representative Jeff Kurtz for bringing the resolution before City Council. Chairman Hintz also thanked Mayor Joe Kowzan, Councilman Neal Boeding, and Councilman Dave Sallen for supporting the BLET's safety efforts and for approving the resolution. Chairman Hintz said that Councilman Sallen's father, U.F. Sallen, is a retired locomotive engineer and member of BLET Division 391.


In addition to Fort Madison, South Salt Lake City and Janesville, 37 other U.S. cities have adopted similar resolutions: Baton Rouge, La.; Detroit, Mich.; Shreveport, La.; Marysville, Mich.; Boston, Mass.; Cleveland, Ohio; Pine Bluff, Ark.; North Little Rock, Ark.; Beardstown, Ill.; Bakersfield, Calif.; Woodbridge, N.J.; Maple Heights, Ohio; Alliance, Neb.; Evansville, Ind.; Dupo, Ill.; Durand, Mich; Flat Rock, Mich.; Woodhaven, Mich; Flint, Mich.; Sparks, Nev.; Commerce, Calif.; Clinton, Iowa; Montebello, Calif.; Saginaw, Mich.; Mankato, Minn.; Wamac, Ill.; St. Louis, Mo.; River Rouge, Mich.; Melvindale, Mich.; Redford Township, Mich.; Irvington, Ill.; Berwyn, Ill.; Allen Park, Mich.; Central City, Ill.; Carteret, N.J.; Toledo, Ohio; San Francisco, Calif.; and Houston, Texas.

Also, 15 counties have passed similar remote control resolutions. They are: Douglas County, Wisc.; West Baton Rouge Parish, La.; Point Coupee Parish, La.; Cuyahoga County, Ohio; Huron County, Ohio; Erie County, Ohio; Whitley County, Ky.; Unicoi County, Tenn.; Contra Costa County, Calif.; Knox County, Tenn.; Clinton County, Iowa; Harris County, Texas; Roanoke County, Va.; Greenup County, Ky.; and San Francisco County, Calif.

On the Web

For more information about remote control locomotives, and to download copies of the city and county resolutions, please visit the BLET website at: http://www.ble-t.org/remotecontrol



© 2004 Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen