Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board (JPB) has recently submitted a modification request concerning two of the nine conditions specified in its existing permanent waiver of compliance to the FRA. JPB is considering purchasing electric multiple unit vehicles (EMU) that are not currently FRA compliant. They are, however, built to European safety standards. The EMUs would be used for the Caltrain commuter rail service in California that runs between San Francisco and Gilroy.
The first part of the request is focused on Condition 1 of the current waiver of compliance. The modification request asks that the existing condition, which states EMUs must meet or exceed crash worthiness performance levels that were identified and presented in the petition, be modified to align with proposed rule text for alternatively compliant Tier 1 equipment, which was developed by RSAC and its Engineering Task Force.
The second condition is a request to remove condition 7 of the current waiver of compliance, which states that JPB must submit a comprehensive temporal separation plan to FRA for approval before the EMUs are operated. JPB feels the proposed rule text doesn’t require temporal separation since the trains that have been built to these new rules are considered safe or safer in collisions than the trains that have been built to the current standards. Furthermore, JPB stated that it is implementing PTC and the new EMUs will be compatible. This will reduce the risk of an impact between freight and passenger trains.
At this time there are no plans to hold a public hearing on this matter. Interested parties may submit comments through December 4, 2015.