News & Reviews News Wire New Jersey Senate committee holds hearing on bill setting limits for ‘high-hazard trains’

New Jersey Senate committee holds hearing on bill setting limits for ‘high-hazard trains’

By Trains Staff | November 28, 2023

Legislation includes provisions requiring two-person crews, limiting train lengths

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New Jersey state sealTRENTON, N.J. — New Jersey legislators on Monday held a hearing on a bill that would require two-person crews, limit train lengths, and mandate wayside defect detectors for “high-hazard trains,” those transporting flammable or hazardous materials.

The hearing on S4049, introduced in June and sponsored by state Sens. Patrick Diegnan Jr. (D-Middlesex) and Gordon Johnson (D-Bergen), was held by the Senate’s transportation committee, the New Jersey Monitor reports. Along with setting an 8,500-foot limit for high-hazard trains, it would set time limits for railroads to notify emergency agencies, and deliver trained personnel and equipment to the site of a derailment or other discharge of material; set financial penalties; and require railroads to provide bridge inspection reports to the state, among other provisions.

While several industry groups submitted written statements of opposition to the bill, everyone who testified at Monday’s hearing supported it, the Monitor reports. That included representatives of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen; a member of the Coalition to Ban Unsafe Oil Trains; and the director of the conservation organization Environment New Jersey.

The bill is not expected to pass in this legislative session, according to the Monitor, but its sponsors plan to re-introduce it next year.

7 thoughts on “New Jersey Senate committee holds hearing on bill setting limits for ‘high-hazard trains’

  1. I suppose all this has a lot to do with a recent Trains news article this past year, where we discussed about a natural gas (LNG) tank car not being allowed to cross the Delaware River from PA to NJ for delivery. And that coincided with NYC banning natural gas in future high-rise construction.

  2. States can’t regulate interstate commerce. These folks know this so this is a propaganda ploy. I wonder if the state of New Jersey inspects and real time monitors the bridges for which they are responsible. These empty words look good for electioneering, which is the true reason.

    1. NJ has a place called the Chemical Coast (it’s the old CNJ line between Elizabethport and Perth Amboy, used by CNJ’s NY&LB trains before the Aldene Plan rerouted them to PRR Newark).

      These Senators are playing to the local audience and are not overly concerned if the bill passes and/or is thrown out by a Federal Court.

      It does provide work for lobbyists and political consultants.

  3. Why do we have a US Congress or the FRA if every state and city want to do their jobs. Just to waste tax payers money?

    1. Good point! Call me cynical, but it seems apparent that NONE of our elected officials, state or federal, seem to understand the concept of “federalism”.

      Have any of our elected officials actually READ the U.S. constitution?

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