The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) announced a new rule that intends to ensure rail passenger safety through improved emergency window exit availability, additional emergency rescue features and required two-way communication systems.
New regulations issued by the FRA mandate that passenger railcars be equipped with two-way communication systems that better help train crews inform and instruct passengers during emergency situations, and to allow passengers to report potential safety or security problems to them.
Emergency rescue and evacuation and rescue access windows are required at all levels with passenger seating, and all new passenger railcars must be equipped with emergency roof access locations.
The rule also includes minimum requirements for the inspection, testing, maintenance and repair of these safety systems.
The new rule addresses a safety recommendation made and other concerns raised by the National Transportation Safety Board following passenger train accidents in 1996 and 2002.
A related FRA rulemaking proposing to enhance passenger railcar emergency lighting systems, exit path markings and emergency signage is expected to be completed later this year.
The final rule will be posted on FRA's Website on February 1.