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grant exceptions to his safety rules and regulations when he considers those exceptions to be in the public interest.
Mr. Chesser proposes to strike the words, “public interest” and to substitute the words "interest of safety of the public and employees."
Now, I previously pointed out to you the trap that that leads us into, because the Secretary thus would not be able to grant exceptions unless such exceptions were "in the interests of safety."
In other words, where an exception clearly would leave safety unaffected but would in the public interest result in economies and efficiencies with no detriment to safety the Secretary would be prohibited from granting such exceptions and that, gentlemen, is the very battle that we have been carrying on with the Commission and with railroad labor in the interpretation of the Power Brake Act.
It is a very neat way of writing into this bill a foreclosure of any exceptions that would accommodate efficiency and economy and in no way affect safety.
There were a few points made in Mr. Crotty's statement that I think it appropriate for me to refer to.
In Mr. Crotty's statement he has at page 2 this statement, and I quote:
There has never been any question concerning the extreme desirability of legislation prescribing authority over railroad track and bridge inspection.
Now to me that is a very broad and sweeping statement, "there has never been any question concerning the extreme desirability of” that kind of legislation, I think Mr. Crotty, himself, is the first one to recognize that there has been question and serious question because in his statement he points out that legislation dealing in those particular areas has been before the Congress at various times through the years and each time it has come up Congress has seen fit not to adopt such legislation. We find nothing in the record that has been made before this committee that should lead this committee or this Congress to arrive at any different conclusion.
At page 6 of Mr. Crotty's statement he refers to the decrease in the tonnage of new rail that was installed in 1967 as compared to 1966. But nowhere in his statement does he consider the matter of re-lay rail, in other words, where you take heavy rail and replace it with heavier rail and take that heavy rail that you took up and replace lighter rail so that you do have a continuing upgrading, for instance, in the safety of the roadway structure, the improvement, and so on, without it being reflected in new rail, that is new rail purchased.
It ought to go the same way with crossties. He says that the fact that rail has longer life-and it does. It is made differently. The steel is better today and I can't use the technical terms but crossties are treated and have a much longer life—he brushes this aside with the simple statement that that does not explain the decrease but he gives you no figures or arguments and no reasons why it does not explain.
Today the life of a treated crosstie is certainly far beyond the life of the untreated crossties, say, that were in place in 1930 which I think is the first year that they used in their statistical showing.
At page 7 of Mr. Crotty's statement he says that since we dispersed the same amount of money for property maintenance, and that money let's say has stayed pretty much the same according to him, “The same amount of money being spent despite increases in cost of manpower
and materials obviously means less and therefore ineffective maintenance.”
In that statement he has completely ignored any technological advancements, any mechanization of roadway work, these Rube Goldberg machines that have arms all over them and you have two operators and they do what a gang of 15 men used to do.
True, the cost of manpower has gone up but it takes less men to operate the machine than it did to do this work manually. He completely ignores instances of that nature. As a matter of fact, at one other place in his statement and measured by the same standards you would conclude this, gentlemen :
That because you don't have as many telephone operators as you had today that your service in substance has gone to hell. We do not think that is any way to measure matters of this nature.
There is one other area of Mr. Crotty's statement that I feel this committee will find most interesting. He mentioned an accident on the Santa Fe Railroad in which he, in substance, said or certainly gave the implication that the accident occurred completely because of the failure of radio communications or the use of radio.
That accident was investigated by the Interstate Commerce Commission and I should like to read for the record certain excerpts from the report of the Commission in that investigation:
Xow the train involved was a train identified as "Extra 963 West." The engineer said that while approaching Yampai, he heard a voice over the radio-telephone announcing Gang No. 3 was calling Extra 963 West. He said that in response to this call, he identified his train and announced it was near Yampai. He said the voice over the radio-telephone replied that Gang No. 3 was clear of the westward main track and gave Extra 963 West a verbal proceed signal.
He said he acknowledged receipt of this signal by again identifying his train and announcing he understood Gang No. 3 was clear of the westward main track.
At another place in the report the Commission said this: The flagman, swing brakeman, and conductor of Extra 963 West and all the crew members of Extra 803 East and Extra 907 East, said they overheard someone informing the engineer of Extra 963 West by radio-telephone that Gang No. 3 was in the clear and give him a verbal proceed signal.
The train dispatcher said the track foreman telephoned him soon after the accident and stated he had communicated by radio-telephone with Extra 963 West when this train was near Yampai. According to the dispatcher, the foreman stated he told the crew of Extra 963 West that Gang No. 3 was clear of the westward main track and later discovered that one of the on-track machines was on the westward track. According to the dispatcher, the foreman stated he then called Extra 963 West by radio-telephone to warn that trian about the on-track machine fouling the westward main track, but received no response to his call.
The Commission concluded:
It is evident, however, that the information conveyed for the movement of this train was issued erroneously by the track foreman and the maintenance-of-way on-track equipment involved was moved into positions obstructing the westward main track either immediately before or soon after Extra 963 West, as a result of this mistake, was authorized to proceed at normal speed into the area where the accident occurred.
Now, as a result of this mistake, note, “The information conveyed for the movement of this train was issued erronenously by the track foreman."
We submit rather that radio failure or any other kind of failure this accident goes back to the employee error category, but under the
amendment to this bill no action by the employee or no action by the employee's representative which in any way conflicted with, failed to comply with, or violated the Secretary's rules or regulations, would have any effect.
Mr. Chairman, I think that completes my statement.
(Whereupon, at 12 noon, the committee adjourned, to reconvene at 10 a.m., Tuesday, May 28, 1968.)
FEDERAL STANDARDS FOR RAILROAD SAFETY
TUESDAY, MAY 28, 1968
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
Washington, D.C. The committee met at 10 a.m., pursuant to notice, in room 2123, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Harley (). Staggers (chairman) presiding.
The CHAIRMAN. The committee will come to order. We have, this morning, a continuation of the hearings on H.R. 16980; and, at this time, Mr. Menk has returned to answer any questions that might be asked him, so if he would take the stand, please.
FURTHER STATEMENT OF LOUIS W. MENK, PRESIDENT, NORTHERN
PACIFIC RAILWAY, APPEARING ON BEHALF OF THE ASSOCIA-
The CHAIRMAN. Good morning. I hope you have not been inconvenienced by this bad weather. Sorry you did have to come back and we hope we won't be too long. Mr. MENK. It is quite all right, sir. The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Friedel, do you have any questions? Mr. FRIEDEL. Mr. Menk, I thought you were a very good witness, and your statement was very fine.
One thing went through my mind that I would like to clear up, and I hope you have the figures. Well, let me put my question first.
Do you have the figures for the railroads, all the railroads, of accidents per year, or an average?
The reason I am asking that question, I just want to know if the railroads would be better off by having a safety rule, and I am trying to get a figure of what would be the costs of the safety rules that this bill proposes, and the overall money that is paid out now.
Mr. MENK. How much money is paid out per year?
Mr. MENK. I don't have that figure. I am sure, Mr. Friedel, that we can make it available to the committee. I have no overall figure on how much money was paid out per year.
Mr. FRIEDEL. I know this, that even if we put all the safety rules in, when you try to compare the dollars that are spent, that it would not prevent any accidents.
There would still be accidents but I am trying to get the picture in my mind so the committee will know what overall dollars you spend, and then what the overall picture might be if this bill is passed.
Mr. MENK. Well, I am sure, sir, that we can get you a figure from the industry as to the moneys expended as a result of personal injuries on the railroads.
I might say that I know of no way that you could measure that against what this cost of this bill would be, because I have seen no really firm estimate of how much this program would cost, but if you would like, why, we will ask-isn't this right, Tom? We will ask Mr. Goodfellow to prepare an exhibit which will give you this information.
(The information requested follows:)
ASSOCIATION OF AMERICAN RAILROADS,
Washington, D.C., June 10, 1968. Hon. HARLEY O. STAGGERS, Chairman, Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce, House of Representatives, Washington, D.C.
DEAR MR. CHAIRMAN : At the hearing on H.R. 16980 held on May 28, Mr. Menk undertook to furnish, in response to a question from Congressman Friedel, the overall cost to the railroads “as a result of personal injuries on the railroads."
No particular year was specified and we therefore have used 1966, the latest year for which final figures are available. During that year the railroads reported $108,492,202 as personal injury (casualty) expenses. This amount cannot be directly equated with casualties sustained during the year, since some part of the total represents costs paid or accrued in 1966 by reason of casualties sustained in previous years.
The Committee should be aware that, under the accounting system prescribed by the Interstate Commerce Commission, this total includes a number of cost items in addition to payments made to claimants. Copies of this letter are being sent to all members of the Committee. Respectfully,
WILLIAM M. MOLONEY, General Counsel. Mr. FRIEDEL. All right, thank you.
Now one other question. I know that you have jurisdiction over locomotives. Can you give us a general idea of what you do, as far as safety is concerned, for the roadbeds, the bridges, all the things that are not under the ICC regulations?
Mr. MENK. Yes, sir, I would be happy to. Let's start with the basic part of the railroad, which is the rail.
The rail as you may know is measured in pounds per yard, and over the years, we have been laying heavier and heavier rail. The track structure of the railroad is main lines, at least on my railroad, and I am sure this is true on all of the major carriers, is inspected by inspection crews, going up and down the railroad by motorcar, once a day and
Mr. FRIEDEL. Once a day?
Mr. MENK. Yes. And oftener, if necessary. In addition to that there is a continuing program of progressive maintenance going on by work gangs of varying sizes, ballasting, timbering, which is putting in the ties, putting on rail anchors to keep the rail from running, due to expansion or contraction.
On our railroad, we have what they call track supervisors who are doing most of this patrol work. Additionally we do "out of face work" which is the continuing over a certain segment of the railroad of the full job of tying, ballasting, lifting and putting the track up in shape on a cycle basis.