US to mandate two-person crew on freight trains

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The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has issued a new rule, effective April 2, 2024, mandating at least two crew members, including a locomotive engineer and typically a conductor, for most train operations. This rule aims to enhance communication and safety but does allow for several exceptions. For instance, remote control operators or certain smaller-scale and tourist rail services may operate with one-person crews under specific conditions. These operations, while exempt, are subject to stringent safety protocols and additional reporting to ensure they meet or exceed the safety levels of two-person crew operations. Additionally, railroads can apply for a waiver from the two-person requirement by conducting a detailed risk assessment and engaging in a public comment process, allowing for tailored safety measures that align with the unique needs of different rail operations.

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