Blue Signal Protection/ Securing Another train in Route

The Carrier is again trying to instruct crews to stop and secure another train  with a dead crew on board and then get back on there train and proceed. You can only do this if you are relieved of the train you are called for.


DATE: December 5, 2006

TO: D. M. Arterburn, Legislative Representative, Local #1313
United Transportation Union
Amarillo, TX

FROM: Rob Castiglione, Deputy Regional Administrator, FRA
Fort Worth, TX

Concurrence at FRA Headquarters – Washington, DC:

Operating Practices Division
Douglas Taylor, OP Staff Director
Dennis Yachechak, OP Specialist

Office of Chief Counsel
Carolina Mirabal, Trial Attorney

SUBJECT: Blue Signal Protection

The following answers to your questions concerning whether blue signal protection is required are as follows:

1) At locations other than crew change points: Crew member(s) of train A instructed to assist crew member(s) of train B for any purpose which would require crew member(s) of train A to go on, under, or between the rolling equipment of train B.
Note: Including working on ETD — replacing, arming, and/or battery change.

Answer: At any location, a crew member from train A may attach him/herself to assist the crew of train B as a utility employee provided his/her work with train A is completed. The scope of the utility employee’s work is limited to the following “six holy things”: setting or releasing hand brakes; coupling or uncoupling air hoses and other electrical or mechanical connections; preparing rail cars for coupling; setting wheel blocks or wheel chains; conducting air brake tests to include cutting air brake components in or out and positioning retaining valves; and inspecting, testing, installing, removing or replacing a rear end marking device or end of train device. (See 49 CFR Part 218.22 for additional utility employee conditions regarding communication, position of engineer, etc.)
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