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FRA updates safety advisory on hot bearing detectors

The Federal Railroad Administration late last week added a recommendation to its recent safety advisory that addresses railroads’ use and maintenance of hot bearing detectors (HBD).

Since the FRA published its safety advisory on March 3, a Norfolk Southern Railway train derailed in New Castle, Pennsylvania, on May 10. A National Transportation Safety Board preliminary report said investigators are focusing on the role HBDs may have played in the accident.

“Preliminary information related to this most recent accident shows that the train involved passed a HBD, which alarmed prior to the accident,” the FRA noted in the June 9 supplement to the initial safety advisory.

The new recommendation calls on railroads to evaluate the resiliency and assurance of the overall process used to monitor and measure bearing health.

The initial safety advisory came as the FRA and other federal officials consider actions in the wake of the Feb. 3 NS train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio.