FRA Proposes Revision of Locomotive Engineer Regulation

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that updates the regulation on locomotive engineer qualification and certification to make it consistent with the corresponding regulation for conductors.

The NPRM includes the following five proposed changes to Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Part 240:

  • Clarifies locomotive engineer certification requirements (Part 240) and aligns them with conductor certification requirements (Part 242) to make it easier for railroad certification managers to become familiar with and administer both regulations.
  • Reduces the reporting burden of a person’s former employer to clarify that only certain listed information in the individual’s railroad service record that directly relates to FRA’s requirements in the certification regulation needs to be shared.
  • Defers the requirement for railroads to seek a waiver from annual testing of certified locomotive engineers when individuals take an extended absence from performing service requiring certification.
  • Modernizes the dispute resolution process by reducing the paperwork burdens for both employees and railroads and allowing for web-based dockets.
  • Simplifies the submission process by which qualification and certification programs are modified by allowing electronic submissions.

Comments on the proposed rule may be submitted to the docket for the proceeding FRA-2018-0053 and are due by July 8, 2019.

“The proposed revisions would modernize locomotive engineer certification regulations to match those for train conductors, and provide regulatory efficiencies and cost savings without compromising safety,” remarked Ronald L. Batory, FRA administrator. “The proposal would streamline the engineer certification process, and reduce paperwork burdens for the responsible parties.”