News & Reviews News Wire FRA issues safety bulletin on shoving moves across grade crossings

FRA issues safety bulletin on shoving moves across grade crossings

By Trains Staff | March 17, 2023

Responding to Ohio fatality, agency asks railroads to review safety practices with employees

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Logo for Federal Railroad AdministrationWASHINGTON — The Federal Railroad Administration has issued a safety bulletin asking railroads to review with employees the dangers of pushing and shoving moves at highway grade crossings.

The bulletin issued today (March 17) is clearly in response to the fatal accident involving a Norfolk Southern conductor on March 7 [see “Norfolk Southern employee killed …,” Trains News Wire, March 7, 2023], although it does not explicitly name that incident.

The bulletin, which the FRA says “is informal in nature,” says safe operation in such situations should include:

— Proper training, periodic oversight, and application of appropriate railroad operating rules when determining whether the track is clear;

— Proper job briefings and communications between assigned crew members during pushing and shoving movements.

The FRA says its preliminary indication into the incident in question has found “a conductor with 18 years of service was fatally injured when the tank car he was riding to provide point protection for a switching move was struck by a dump truck. The incident occurred at a private grade crossing in a steel plant as the train consist traveled southward. The dump truck, traveling west, stopped at the private highway-rail grade crossing, then proceeded and collided with the car the conductor was riding, killing the conductor.”

The FRA says it may take additional actions as it completes its investigation.

6 thoughts on “FRA issues safety bulletin on shoving moves across grade crossings

  1. People, this happened INSIDE a steel mill. I doubt if a shoving platform would be used if one is making multiple switching moves inside an industrial complex. Having operated trains inside a steel mill before it is a complex operating environment with tracks and roads every. My own experience some truck drivers tend to ignore train movements. Or possibly are not familiar with the layout of the plant and are busy looking for where to go.

    1. 1:19 am the accident occurred.
      Inside a steel mill is indeed a very dangerous environment and in the darkness of night it can be a very scary place for anyone, especially when they are unfamiliar with their surroundings. Reversing a move in darkness is an accident waiting to happen, especially if the tank car involved was black. If the weather was poor, this just added to the danger.
      To back up Mr Lampman’s statement about stopping before proceeding, our moves did. The majority of the locomotives in the mill I worked in were radio control using a single person crew (mill employee) and it was the engineers job to stop at each crossing and flag the crossing with his switchman’s lantern.

  2. Here’s my question: why was he riding on the tank car? Why was that train not provided with a shoving platform?

  3. Can I state the obvious? This issue has been around as long as railroads have been around. If there were a solution, railroads would have found it by now, unless of course they’re not looking.

    It’s not just sidings. The UP branch from Milwaukee to New Berlin (Wisconsin) is a back-up move all the way, with several grade crossings lacking crossing gates (flashers only) including across busy Moorland Road, a divided highway.

  4. Was the truck driver ticketed for hitting the train an killing the conductor? Article says the truck stopped then proceeded then hit the train. Was he asleep? He didn’t see that big tank car? Did he really stop? Or that what he told the cops? Something here just doesn’t right.

  5. Do they recommend coming to a complete stop before proceding across an unprotected crossing?
    There are many locations where that would necessitate re-crews daily.

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