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FRA Emergency Waiver

By TY Dragoo | Mar 26, 2020
FRA Emergency Waiver image

All Kansas LR's

 I want to get this out to you before the carriers start to make up a bunch of facts as they did during the floods. 

 Attached is the Request for Relief in FRA Emergency Docket FRA-2020-0002 related to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

 This order of waivers is officially in effect and expires in 60 days.

 There are many waivers granted with inspections and tests. Also, waivers are granted for non-qualified (on territory) personal operating trains.

 The most ambiguous and concerning was at the end of the letter a portion that reminds the carries about HOS flexibility. Per the wavier, the carriers have not sought HOS relief. see an excerpt from the letter below.

 Although Petitioners did not specifically request relief from the hours of service requirements of 49 U.S.C. Chapter 211, FRA notes that the statute itself provides flexibility to respond to certain emergency situations, such as the COVID-19 pandemic. See 49 U.S.C. § 21102(a). However, FRA notes that railroads would be required to employ due diligence to reduce or eliminate excess service. In addition, FRA’s hours of service recordkeeping regulations require railroads to identify the reason for each instance of excess service, even where excess service may be appropriate for relief under the statute (e.g., in this instance, where the excess service was unavoidable and a direct result of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on a particular railroad).

 Attached to this email is the wavier in its entirety.

 It is requested of your locals that any and all HOS violations continue to be documented and sent to the office for formal action.

 If you have any questions please call this office at your convenience.


Ty Dragoo

United Transportation Union - SMART

Kansas Legislative Director

523 SW VanBuren Suite 100

Topeka, Kansas 66603

Phone  785.286.7527

Fax       785.286.7521



Link to FRA Waiver Request


Link to FRA Response