As both a veteran railroad worker and union official responsible for safety, Mike Elliott became alarmed when he learned of trouble-plagued train signals in his home state of Washington.
Signals, he said, at times would inexplicably switch from red to yellow to green – potentially creating confusion that could lead to a crash. Elliott raised that and other signal issues repeatedly with his managers at BNSF Railway Co.
Both safety advocates and the railroad industry are expressing disappointment with new rules announced Friday by the U.S. Department of Transportation that are intended improve the safety of rail tank cars carrying crude oil and other flammable liquids.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has issued urgent safety recommendations to the Federal Railroad Administration, the Association of American Railroads, the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association, and the American Public Transportation Association to help ensure that electronic alertness devices or “alerters” work as intended on trains.