The Association of American Railroads announced next steps in improving freight rail safety. Recent derailments for passenger and freight trains have lead to a demand for increased security measures.
The industry has long recognized the risk posed by hot bearings and installed thousands of hot bearing detectors (HBDs) across the railroad network. The railroads have also installed acoustic bearing detectors, which can ascertain potential problems from the noise created by bearings that are starting to fail.
All Class I railroads have agreed to install additional HBDs across their key routes, with the goal of achieving average spacing of 15 miles, except if the route is equipped with acoustic bearing detection capability or other similar technology.
The Class I railroads commit to stopping trains and inspecting bearings whenever the temperature reading from an HBD exceeds 170° above ambient temperature.
In 2023, the railroads will train roughly 20,000 first responders in local communities across the country on accident mitigation. In addition, the industry will facilitate the training of 2,000 first responders. Rail cars will also be inspected and improved upon for fire safety.