Petition for Waiver of Compliance and Statutory Exemption

CourtFederal Railroad Administration,Transportation Department
Citation87 FR 16306
Record Number2022-06011
Published date22 March 2022
Federal Register, Volume 87 Issue 55 (Tuesday, March 22, 2022)
[Federal Register Volume 87, Number 55 (Tuesday, March 22, 2022)]
                [Notices]
                [Page 16306]
                From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
                [FR Doc No: 2022-06011]
                -----------------------------------------------------------------------
                DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
                Federal Railroad Administration
                [Docket Number FRA-2022-0018]
                Petition for Waiver of Compliance and Statutory Exemption
                 Under part 211 of title 49 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), this
                document provides the public notice that on February 24, 2022, Canadian
                Pacific Railway (CP) and Union Pacific Railroad Company (UP) jointly
                petitioned the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) for a waiver of
                compliance from certain provisions of the Federal railroad safety
                regulations contained at 49 CFR part 232 (Brake System Safety Standards
                for Freight and Other Non-Passenger Trains and Equipment; End-of-Train
                Devices). CP and UP also request an exemption from the requirements of
                title 49, United States Code (U.S.C.), section 20303, which states that
                a rail vehicle with defective or insecure equipment may be moved when
                necessary to make repairs to the nearest available place at which the
                repairs can be made. See 49 U.S.C. 20306. FRA assigned the petition
                Docket Number FRA-2022-0018.
                 Specifically, CP and UP request relief from 49 CFR 232.213,
                Extended haul trains; 232.15, Movement of defective equipment; and
                232.103(f), General requirements for all train brake systems, and an
                exemption from the requirements of 49 U.S.C. 20303, for a potash unit
                train pair (CP train symbols 668 and 669), which are designated as
                extended haul trains, that operate between loading facilities in
                Saskatchewan, Canada, and the ports of Portland, Oregon, United States.
                The requested relief would allow technology-based advanced testing (the
                Automated Brake Effectiveness (ABE) Test Process) performed by wheel
                temperature detectors as an alternative approach to manual Class I
                brake tests performed by Certified Car Inspectors (Qualified Mechanical
                Inspectors). The tests would take place on westbound CP symbol 669
                trains at the designated inspection location in Lethbridge, Alberta,
                Canada. The petitioners state that the ABE Test Process is expected to
                provide more accurate brake testing, more proactive identification and
                repair of defects, and safer railway operations.
                 Petitioners also explain that on December 10, 2021, Transport
                Canada granted two exemptions to CP under the Canadian Railway Safety
                Act that permit the use of CP's Remote Safety Inspection Process (RSIP)
                and ABE Test Process as alternative practices to meet certain freight
                car safety and air brake inspections performed in Canada as required by
                Canadian rules. The ABE Test Process has been in existence in Canada
                for over ten years, and FRA has audited the process as part of its
                investigation of test waivers under Docket Numbers FRA-2016-0018 and
                FRA-2018-0049. FRA believes that the RSIP, by utilizing Certified Car
                Inspectors in near real-time oversight of the process, meets the
                requirements of Sec. 232.213(a)(3), and does not require relief for
                this instance. Petitioners state that the train pair currently receives
                and will continue to receive all inspections in Canada by CP employees
                prior to interchanging to the UP, and US operations would not change.
                 FRA may grant an exemption from the requirements of 49 U.S.C. 20303
                only on the basis of (1) evidence developed at a hearing; or (2) an
                agreement between national railroad labor representatives and the
                developer of the equipment or technology at issue. 49 U.S.C. 20306. FRA
                notes that the public hearing FRA previously held to address a similar
                request for exemption from UP (Docket Number FRA-2016-0018) addresses
                substantially the same issues as this current request. Thus, FRA
                believes a separate public hearing on the current request is
                unnecessary, and in considering the joint CP and UP request in this
                docket, FRA intends to rely on the findings of the hearing conducted in
                Docket Number FRA-2016-0018.
                 A copy of the petition, as well as any written communications
                concerning the petition, is available for review online at
                www.regulations.gov.
                 Interested parties are invited to participate in these proceedings
                by submitting written views, data, or comments.
                 All communications concerning these proceedings should identify the
                appropriate docket number and may be submitted at http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the online instructions for submitting
                comments.
                 Communications received by May 23, 2022 will be considered by FRA
                before final action is taken. Comments received after that date will be
                considered if practicable.
                 Anyone can search the electronic form of any written communications
                and comments received into any of our dockets by the name of the
                individual submitting the comment (or signing the document, if
                submitted on behalf of an association, business, labor union, etc.).
                Under 5 U.S.C. 553(c), the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT)
                solicits comments from the public to better inform its processes. DOT
                posts these comments, without edit, including any personal information
                the commenter provides, to www.regulations.gov, as described in the
                system of records notice (DOT/ALL-14 FDMS), which can be reviewed at
                https://www.transportation.gov/privacy. See also https://www.regulations.gov/privacy-notice for the privacy notice of
                regulations.gov.
                 Issued in Washington, DC.
                John Karl Alexy,
                Associate Administrator for Railroad Safety, Chief Safety Officer.
                [FR Doc. 2022-06011 Filed 3-21-22; 8:45 am]
                BILLING CODE 4910-06-P
                

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