Skip to main content
State Seal State Seal State Seal
Home Button Home Button Home Button

Reps. Sheehy, Hagan Push for Safer Railways

In light of recent train tragedies, Congress must act now on Safe Freight Act
December 5, 2013
Democratic Newsroom

COLUMBUS– Today, State Reps. Michael Sheehy (D-Oregon) and Robert Hagan (D-Youngstown) renewed their call for the passage of Ohio House Concurrent Resolution 39, which urges Congress to enact the Safe Freight Act. Reps. Sheehy and Hagan-both seasoned railroad workers- believe the recent transportation train tragedy in New York could have been avoided if two crew members were in the operating cab.

The federal Safe Freight Act, which is still pending in Congress, would require a freight train crew to consist of at least two qualified individuals. Updating these standards would increase the overall safety of train operations, especially in the event that one crew member loses alertness or is no longer able to perform his or her duties. A two person crew could also foster safer grade crossings, by decreasing the chance of potentially dangerous blindspots.

“We cannot allow preventable train accidents to occur because of a lack of appropriate safety standards,” said Rep. Sheehy. “In the meantime, I urge my colleagues in the Ohio General Assembly to pass H.C.R 39 to urge Congress to pass this legislation quickly. It will save lives. ”

H.C.R 39 was introduced earlier this year following the runaway freight train incident that killed 47 people in the Canadian province of Quebec. It is believed that this accident also could have been avoided if the single-crew member had another individual to help him properly secure the cars to prevent the runaway.

“It amazes me that only one person is required to operate a train, yet we’d never think of having a pilot fly a plane alone,” said Rep. Hagan.  “This year there have been a number of train derailments that could have been prevented if a second crew member was on site.”

Rep. Sheehy is a former railway conductor and Rep. Hagan currently works as a locomotive engineer. Each representative has over 30 years of experience on Ohio’s railways.