Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine has signed the state’s $13.5 billion transportation budget, which includes a mandate for two-person train crews and other rail safety measures.
The train-crew requirement and safety measures were included in the bill in response to the Feb. 3 Norfolk Southern Railway train derailment in East Palestine, according to a press release from the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET).
The derailment resulted in the release of toxic chemicals into the environment. The NS train was operated by three crew members.
Besides the crew-size issue, rail safety provisions in the bill call for:
• wayside defect detectors to be installed every 10 to 15 miles along mainline track in Ohio; and
• the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio to develop and enforce additional requirements for the installation and use of wayside defect detectors.
Ohio is now the first state with requirements for wayside detectors, said BLET Ohio State Legislative Board Chairman John Esterly. Wayside detectors are a factor in the ongoing federal investigation into the train derailment’s cause.