Final Rules Notices or Meetings NTSB Alerts

December 13, 2021: STB Lays Out Rule For Trackage Rights During Emergency Situations

The Surface Transportation Board is adopting a final rule regarding the procedures a railroad accesses the track of another railroad in emergency situations. The rule , effective Dec. 30, 2021, establishes a new class exemption for emergency temporary trackage rights for specific limited situations. It will permit emergency temporary trackage rights to take effect within five days of a carrier filing a verified notice of exemption.
The Association of American Railroads had petitioned the board in October 2020 for the rule. The board largely agreed on the petition’s merits. It felt the change would make the process of obtaining temporary trackage rights in an emergency more efficient and predictable.
The rulemaking was met by some objections. NTSB and The Transportation Division of the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers argued that the exemption could threaten rail safety by allowing personnel to conduct operations over an unfamiliar line.  The Surface Transportation Board determined that the exemption would not affect rail safety and does not impact existing FRA safety regulations.

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