On August 21, there was need for celebration among rail workers in Sacramento, California as final approval was made by state lawmakers towards a bill mandating two-person crews on all freight trains.
“California has nearly 7,000 miles of railroad track that winds through both wilderness and urbans, making train safety a priority issue,” California Labor Federation spokesmen Steve Smith explained.
Many rail unions have been advocating for the two-person crews for some time, “while the rail careers have been pushing for just one, an engineer.”
Union members have expressed their concern to lawmakers that the presence of another crew members would decrease accidents that resulted in crashes and deaths of workers.
“Today’s freight trains carry extremely dangerous materials, including Bakken crude oil, ethanol, anhydrous ammonia, liquefied petroleum gas and acids that may pose significant health and safety risks to communities and our environment in the case of an accident,” said sponsoring State Sen. Lois Wolk, D-Solano.
There is great urge for the California governor to sign it into law, as the second pair of eyes can prevent accidents to happen. There has been further advocating at the federal level by Union workers, but they experienced indifference.
Smart Transportation Division President John Previsich expressed his continued support for the bill.
“With several major train derailments having occurred in the last few months…our lawmakers and the general public must understand that multi-person crews are essential to ensuring the safest rail operations possible in their communities.