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Comment Period Extended For Proposed Rule On Rail Employee Training

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The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) on Nov. 22 published a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) requesting comments regarding extending the dates for Class II and III railroads that are not intercity or commuter passenger railroads with 400,000 annual employee hours or more to comply with existing Part 243 Training Rules, "Training, Qualification, and Oversight for Safety-Related Railroad Employees."

The NPRM would align short line/regional and contractor compliance dates, providing railroads and contractors 16 additional months for compliance. The American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association (ASLRRA) and the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC) requested the regulatory change.

FRA's proposed new dates are as follows:

  • May 1, 2021, for program submission.
  • Jan. 1, 2022, for designation of an employee's occupational category or subcategory.
  • Beginning May 1, 2023, refresher training must be delivered at an interval of three years.

"We are pleased that FRA has re-evaluated the implementation timeline for our small-business railroads and railroad suppliers," said ASLRRA President Chuck Baker. "Part 243 Training Rules are an extensive change to the current process, and we have been working diligently to create new training programs that will meet the needs of our members and the regulations. This additional time will be exceedingly helpful."

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