NEW HAVEN, CT—Three of Connecticut’s representatives to Congress—Jim Himes, Rosa DeLauro, and Elizabeth Esty—unveiled today the Rail Safety Enforcement Act, comprehensive legislation to enhance rail safety. They are joined by New York Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney as an original cosponsor. The four representatives announced their intent to introduce the legislation last month and are formally introducing the bill today.

“Metro North's string of accidents and delays over the past year is unacceptable and inexcusable. One of the busiest commuter rail lines in the country must be safer and must be more reliable – it is critical to our safety and to our region’s continued economic vitality,” said Himes. “I am pleased to join my colleagues in introducing legislation that will help ensure that accidents like the Bronx derailment and the death of a Metro-North track worker earlier this year will never happen again.”

“We should take every precaution to prevent rail accidents from happening,” DeLauro said. “That is our duty.  The Rail Safety Enforcement Act is comprehensive, common-sense legislation that will improve rail safety all across the nation. Our first responsibility for our train systems has to be ensuring the public safety.”

“Safe, reliable rail service is critical to our economy,” Esty said. “As a member of the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure’s Subcommittee on Railroads, I’ve urged Congress to strengthen our rail safety standards and procedures to ensure, above all, that commuters are safe. These commonsense modifications that we’re proposing today need to be part of the solution.”

"We can't wait until the next tragic accident to adopt these commonsense measures to protect workers and commuters. Passing the Rail Safety Enforcement Act ensures all commuter rails like Metro-North have redundant safety measure that keep folks safe,” said Maloney.

"Rail employees, as well as riders and communities on the railroads, deserve the peace of mind of knowing that railroads are as safe as possible," said Edward Wytkind, president of Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO. "The legislation is a significant step forward in making sure our railroads are operating with the best practices while protecting the people who work on them. We urge Congress to move this legislation without delay."

The Rail Safety Enforcement Act has five main provisions:

  1. Requires that every rail carrier control cab have an “alerter,” an automatic failsafe device that sounds an alarm when a train engineer seems idle while the train is in motion.
  2. Requires every rail carrier to develop a fatigue risk plan within 60 days and submit it to the Secretary of Transportation
  3. Requires every carrier to report on their progress in implementing the Positive Train Control System within 180 days of enactment.
  4. Requires the Secretary of Transportation to issue regulations mandating “shunting,” or redundant signal protection for workers on the track.
  5. Mandates that railroad employees are provided with predictable and defined work and rest schedules.