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Rail Law Alert – FRA Issues Exterior Side Door Rule

FRA Issues Final Rule Addressing Safety of Passenger Train Exterior Side Doors

On December 7, 2015, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) issued a Final Rule establishing new requirements for the operation of passenger train exterior side doors and the manufacture of such doors on new rail passenger cars and locomotives.

The Rule is based on the recommendations of the Railroad Safety Advisory Committee’s (RSAC) General Passenger Safety Task Force, and incorporates the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) Standard PR–M–S–18–10, ‘‘Standard for Powered Exterior Side Door System Design for New Passenger Cars’’ (February 11, 2011). Among other requirements, the Rule mandates that:

  • Rail passenger cars and locomotives ordered on or after April 5, 2016, or put into service for the first time on or after February 5, 2018, be equipped with door obstruction detection systems and safeguards to prevent the train from developing tractive power while any exterior side door remains opened;
  • All exterior side doors and trap doors are closed while a train is moving between stations; and
  • Passenger railroads develop and comply with new operating rules governing exterior side door operation within three years.