Initiative will inspect routes that carry trains with hazardous cargo

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A new federal initiative would provide inspections on rail routes that carry high-hazard flammable trains (HHFTs) and trains carrying large volumes of hazmat commodities.

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) will identify and prioritize these routes.

FRA inspectors will assess the overall condition of rail infrastructure and railroads’ compliance with FRA regulatory requirements governing track. They will use technology combined with a visual inspection.

The results of inspections will be shared with railroads and rail labor organizations and published periodically for the public to increase transparency.

“FRA is vigorously responding to the concerns expressed by residents of East Palestine and the surrounding areas, and as a result of the recent derailment, we are ramping up our safety efforts across the country,” FRA Administrator Amit Bose said. “FRA will begin ATIP (Automated Track Inspection Program) and visual inspections of Norfolk Southern Railway track in the vicinity of East Palestine (Ohio). Many more inspections will follow, and the data that they yield will allow us, as well as railroads, labor, and state and local governments, to implement better-informed decisions and policies regarding rail safety.”

Last year, ATIP surveyed approximately 180,000 miles of track. It helps remediate approximately 10,000 track safety defects annually.