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USA: Slater announces final rule on steam locomotives

FRA. : Thursday, November 18, 1999
In a continuing effort to improve safety even as railroad operations expand, U.S. Transportation Secretary Rodney E. Slater today announced a final rule revising inspection and maintenance standards for steam locomotives.
"As the economy expands and the nation enjoys a brisk tourist trade, the re-creation of events from our transportation history place new demands on equipment involved," Secretary Slater said. "This rule will help ensure the safety of steam locomotives in use throughout the country, whether they are moving people or freight safety is President Clinton's highest transportation priority."

The past few years have seen a resurgence in steam locomotive operations, primarily in the areas of tourist and historic railroads. In order to maintain the industry's exemplary safety record while allowing it the needed flexibility to continue to operate efficiently, the final rule makes a number of significant changes in the areas of inspections, record-keeping, maintenance requirements and schedules, and responsibility for ensuring continuing compliance with applicable rules and regulations.

"These new standards will help ensure that the steam railroad industry maintains its near spotless safety record while continuing to bring these living monuments of American railroading to the many thousands of railroad enthusiasts who come to see them every year," said Federal Railroad Administrator Jolene M. Molitoris.

This Federal Railroad Administration rule was developed in consultation with the Steam Standards Task Force of the Tourist and Historic Railroads Working Group, which is an arm of the Railroad Safety Advisory Committee. This working group included representatives from the Association of Railway Museums, the Association of American Railroads, the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association, the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers, the Tourist Railway Association Inc., the Smithsonian Institution, the National Board of Boiler and Pressure Vessel Inspectors, and a number of steam railroads and industry associations. The revised standard updates regulations last published in 1978.

The final rule is in today's Federal Register. Its effective date is Jan. 18, 2000.


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