by James C. Sherlock
After the Ohio disaster, it is timely to review rail safety in Virginia.
The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) of the U.S. Department of Transportation is the federal rail safety regulator in cooperation with state authorities.
FRA’s Office of Railroad Safety employs 400 railway inspectors. Federal safety management teams are organized by railroad or type of railroad.
The FRA summary of State rail safety participation states:
state programs emphasize planned, routine compliance inspections; however, States may undertake additional investigative and surveillance activities consistent with overall program needs and individual State capabilities.
FRA both conducts and pays for training of state inspectors.
Code of Federal Regulations 49 CFR Part 212 provides state rail safety participation regulations.
Railroad Regulation represents one of the original areas of responsibility assigned to the State Corporation Commission (SCC) when it was created by the Virginia Constitution of 1902.
Virginia statutory authority is found in Code of Virginia Title 56 Chapter 13.
Virginia today has two Class I (major) railroads (Norfolk Southern and CSXT), nine Class II (short line) railroads, and more than 6,700 miles of track. Continue reading