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First, could we have just maybe a candid observation here? I don't think anything but a bus meets qualifications that you suggested for the hauling of employees, so wouldn't it be best just to go ahead and say that we are speaking of a station wagon or a bus, plus a truck, to haul the crew ?
So that we can better understand it? I believe when you got through with all this, you have defined a bus, have you not?
Mr. CROTTY. It would certainly be very desirable for the employees to be transported in a conveyance such as a bus, rather than in a covered truck.
Mr. KUYKENDALL. I think by the time you got through spending that much money on a truck, you had better buy a bus, you would probably be better off. I am not being critical, I just think that is what you have defined, and I believe it would be clearer to us if you would go ahead and call it that.
Mr. CROTTY. I would be very happy if we could end up with something resembling a bus for transporting employees.
Mr. KUYKENDALL. All right, now, real quickly, and here is something that my guess is that you are going to probably want to submit in writing.
In the pamphlet-and I seem to have lost my little picture pamphlet that you had yesterday-since well over half of the pictures viewed are roadbed fault, one way or the other, roadbed fault, other than crossing accidents, killing people in cars, this is obviously one of the biggest areas of accidents, it seems to me we could have possibly five areas of possible fault here.
You either have a faulty piece of steel, or faulty installation, or faulty inspection, or faulty followup of inspection, or faulty workmanship of correcting the inspection, after it was made.
Now, that is five different places that is could happen. The thing I would like to have you say, here is where I think you will probably want to come back with your answer. I would like to know whether you feel that your people doing inspecting are capable of doing adequate jobs.
I don't want to imply negligence on either side of any issue, because I think everybody in the railroads has a concern for life and limb, but I want to know if you feel that possibly you need more crews for inspection, and more training for inspection, and I would like to have, maybe, some extensive answers to this, and not just something we can do in 5 minutes. Mr. CROTTY. I would be very glad to submit the material requested. (The information requested was not available at time of printing.) Mr. KUYKENDALL. Because the inspection of the railbed is obviously very important, and what we do with the inspection report once we get it, and whether or not it is a good inspection report, and whether or not the man that corrects it is capable of correcting it.
These are the type of answers I would like to see. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Skubitz. Mr. SKUBITZ. Mr. Crotty, you were asked a question I wanted to pursue. I also believe in providing protection for the employees, but it seems to me that some of the things that you suggest may be just a bit unreasonable.
Is it unusual, in business, for the employees and the equipment to be taken on the same truck? Is this an unusual practice?
Mr. CROTTY. It is very unusual, in any other industry that I am familiar with.
Mr. SKUBITZ, I see the Pepco truck go by every day, with their workers and also with their equipment on the truck. Firemen go to fires on trucks with their equipment.
Mr. Crorty. Well, the employees that you referred to, the type of truck that you refer to, the employees are seated on fixed seats. They are not being transported in an open bodied truck.
Mr. SKUBITZ, I have seen them in open bodied trucks, too.
Mr. SKUBITZ. I appreciate the fact. I want to see reasonable safety as well as you do, but I sometimes wonder how far does reasonableness go in this sort of thing.
Mr. Crotty. It should go far enough to insure that the employee's life will not be placed in jeopardy.
Mr. SKUBITZ. Well, look at some of the accidents you are talking about here. Here a fellow, for example, a section man fell from a truck, while sweeping out a bed. Now that could happen to anyone.
Here is another example. Truek struck by a bus. That could happen on any highway. This is not unusual. I was parked down in front of the Willard Hotel, and a fellow smashed into the rear end of my car.
I would like to see you fellows come forward with reasonable suggestions.
Mr. CROTTY. Well, I would believe that if a vehicle that was transporting employees broke down on the highway, if we had something resembling a bus, employees would stay seated, where they were being transported.
Mr. SKUBITZ. Well, if you were president of the Firemen's Union, would you suggest the firemen go to the fire in buses?
Mr. CROTTY. All of the equipment on the fire truck is fastened down. I have never known of a fireman to be killed or injured by material that was being transported in the same truck reeling around and killing him.
And we have had many instances when the members of my union have been killed because of things like this happening.
Mr. SKUBITZ. You state that class I railroads used 400,000 tons of new rails in 1967 and dropped to 200,000 tons in 1966.
Was that due to a discontinuance of lines where rails were not needed ?
Mr. CROTTY. No; primarily, this is attributed to the fact that the railroad's maintenance program is geared to their budget.
Mr. SKUBITZ. Well, is that an unusual procedure? Don't you and I do the same thing in life?
Mr. CROTTY. Well, this is a factor that has to be considered, yes. But it would seem to me that a much larger share of a railroad's gross operating revenues could be more properly spent to insure the safety of employees, rather than for other purposes.
Mr. SKUBITZ. I wish we had more time, Mr. Chairman,
If not, we will have the next witness.
I want to thank you, Mr. Crotty. I think you have given a very good statement, a very competent statement for the record, and helped to make the record for us for consideration.
Our next witness will be Mr. Louis W. Menk, president of the Northern Pacific Railway, appearing for the Association of American Railroads.
Mr. BROTZMAN. Mr. Chairman, in the interest of time, may I welcome Mr. Menk to the committee? Mr. Menk is a native Coloradan. His many accomplishments, rather uniformly recognized, both by the forces of management and by labor, in behalf of the railroad industry, have taken him to other parts of the country.
Yet, as I said before, he is a native Coloradan, and we are glad to claim him.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you.
STATEMENT OF LOUIS W. MENK, PRESIDENT AND CHIEF EXECU
TIVE OFFICER, NORTHERN PACIFIC RAILWAY CO., REPRESENTING THE ASSOCIATION OF AMERICAN RAILROADS
Mr. MENK. Thank you, Mr. Chairman and Congressmen. Thank you, Mr. Brotzman. My name is Louis W. Menk, and I am president and whief executive officer of the Northern Pacific Railway. Prior to being elected to this position, I was president and chief executive officer of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy, in Chicago, and before going to Burlington, I was president and chairman of the board in the St. Louis & San Francisco Railway Co. in St. Louis, Mo.
I am appearing here today as a witness on behalf of the Association of American Railroads in opposition to H.R. 16980.
I feel sure that all members of this committee are familiar with the AAR. It is a voluntary nonprofit association, composed of almost all the class I railroads in the United States. Its members also include numerous smaller roads. It represents its members in matters of common concern, such as the bill now before you.
Because H.R. 16980 is a safety bill, I think it appropriate that I say a few words about our industry's attitude toward safety before talking specifically about the bill itself.
In his letter of transmittal which accompanied the bill when it was delivered to the President of the Senate, the Secretary of Transportation, Mr. Boyd, said that in proposing this legislation, “the Department does not suggest that the railroad industry is insensitive to its responsibility for safe operations." Now, if that statement was intended to recognize the activities and achievements of the railroad industry in the area of safety, then it falls far short of according the degree of recognition to which our activities and achievements are entitled.
Since my schooldays in Denver, I have devoted my entire life to the railroad industry. Thirty-one years ago I was employed by the Union Pacific as a messenger and telegrapher. In 1940, I went to the Frisco and with that road served as telegrapher dispatcher, trainmaster, terminal trainmaster, superintendent, assistant superintendent of transportation, general manager, vice president of operation, and finally I served as chairman, president, and director for 4 years before I was asked to be president of the Burlington.
As stated previously, I am now president and chief executive officer of the Northern Pacific.
I mention this experience simply to make one point clear: During my 31 years of work with the American railroads, I have yet to meet an operating man, railroad officer, or employee, who is not interested, affirmatively, and positively, and continuously, in railroad safety.
This is not something we just talk about; it is something we work at and work at all the time. We are not merely sensitive to our responsibility for safety; we react to that sensitivity by exerting every effort to promote and create safety. Later on I will mention some concrete results of this effort.
We are concerned with safety, first of all, because railroad managements are made up of people. Like other people, we are appalled by the waste of human lives that accidents can cause. Beyond that, safety is bread and butter to the railroads because an unsafe operation is an inefficient operation.
When we are inefficient, we lose business; and if we remain inefficient for long, we are not likely to be in business. Any unsafe operation on a railroad is almost certain to carry with it a direct economic penalty in addition to the economic erosion caused by inefficiency. That is because any employee or member of the public who is injured by an unsa fe train operation almost always recovers substantial damages from the railroad.
Exactly the same holds true for freight that is damaged or destroyed. We pay for it.
For these reasons I must respectfully disagree with the continuing statement of Mr. Boyd in his letter of transmittal to the effect that:
The cost of greater safety will be borne reluctantly unless it is a burden which falls evenly on each member of the industry. Uniform Federal regulation is the only way industry can be assured of this.
There is no "cost of greater safety"; greater safety means increased profits to railroads as well as benefits to their employees and shippers. To think of safety as a “burden,” as the Secretary evidently does, simply does not reflect the attitude of the industry.
I also do not understand the Secretary's solicitude for "uniformity” of this supposed burden throughout the industry. If my railroad is safer than a competing road, then to that extent I am a more effective and successful competitor and I am doing a better job of railroading. That is the aim of every railroad, and therefore, no railroad would dream of postponing an improvement in safety simply because it wasn't "uniform” in the industry.
The cooperation among railroads reflected in the AAR makes it easy for the existence of new safety devices or procedures to become known throughout the industry.
Before it can be determined whether this bill should pass, there are three vitally important subsidiary questions that in our opinion have to be answered:
First, what need exists that is not now being satisfied ?
I mention these three questions as the ones that the committee and the Congress should keep always before them because I believe them to be essential questions under the American system of government.
During my lifetime the Federal Government has become a much more important factor in the lives of all citizens and in the activities of all industries. This is not in itself a development to be deplored. Government exists to satisfy essential needs that cannot otherwise be met.
For this reason, I believe, our Government has been right in enacting much legislation and in imposing certain regulations on industries where a given need is plain and where only governmental action can bring relief.
The other side of the coin is that our Government does not and should not regulate where the need is not clear, where it can be met by other means, or where legislation can do little or nothing to solve it. I think that is the situation here. It seems to me that the present bill amounts to regulation for its own sake and I think that kind of regulation is improper.
Section 3 of the bill authorizes and directs the Secretary “to promote safety in rail commerce" by prescribing rules, regulations, and standards that would govern all aspects of railroading. As I read this portion of the bill, in the light of the broad definitions contained in section 2, there is no limit to the areas of the railroad business to which the Secretary's rules could extend. There also is no standard to govern either the form or content of those rules other than the directive "to promote safety."
If this reading of the bill is correct, then the bill is necessarily premised on the assumption that every conceivable area of the railroad business is unsafe and that Federal regulation in all these areas not only can make them safe, but is essential to that end.
If this premise is analyzed, it will be found to be wrong.
Let me address myself first to one area of railroad safety, that of bridges. The safety of railroad bridges is expressly mentioned by the Secretary in his letter of transmittal as an area of railroading over which he has no present authority but over which he believes he should exercise such authority.
There have been bridges for as long as there have been railroads and railroad men have therefore always been concerned with bridge safety, and the elements that go into the provision of rail transportation, to make them safe.
The American railroads have a nearly perfect record in recent years with respect to bridges. American railroads today use and maintain about 192,000 bridges (including trestles and culverts). Their total is about 4,500 miles, a distance considerably greater than the mileage from New York to San Francisco.
A recent survey made by a special AAR committee at the request of President Johnson shows that all class I railroads inspect their bridges carefully at least once a year under the exacting standards promulgated for their use by the AAR's engineering division.
Many bridges are inspected more often than once a year. In addition, these bridges are rated under the engineering division's rules. This means that their carrying capacity is assessed and traffic routed over them is controlled accordingly. In this manner even a very old bridge is kept up to a safe standard through inspection and its stresses are limited, if need be, by the rating system.