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Mr. KORNEGAY. I will yield to my friend from Texas. Mr. Pickle. I thank both of my colleagues for yielding. I was interested in this question, if you contemplate a new stretch of 50 miles in the State of Washington using concrete ties does this contemplate a new roadbed too entirely?
Mr. MENK. Yes, sir. It will be a whole new railroad. It's in the Walluke Slope.
Mr. PICKLE. As a matter of statistics, in general has your system built many new roadbeds in the last 30 or 40 years?
Mr. MENK. No, sir.
Mr. PICKLE. We are using in effect the same roadbed and crosstie system as we had 50 years ago!
Mr. MENK. No, that isn't so. We are using heavier rail. It has been relaid. We are using crossties with longer life. We are using a better ballast section. In my opinion we are providing better maintenance for our railroads today than we ever had.
Mr. PICKLE. I am sure that that is right, sir. I do not mean to imply anything to the contrary but what I am trying to establish is, is it not a fact that we are using generally the same type of roadbed, the same type of crosstie that we used 75 years ago and for the most part what we are doing, though we are modernizing it, is just patching the present system.
Mr. MENK, No, sir. We are upgrading it all the time.
Mr. MENK. 75 years ago you had 56 pound rail. That is 56 pounds to a yard. Our standard is now 132 pounds to a yard.
Mr. PICKLE. Rail might be one factor. Of course as the trains get heavier you use heavier rails and I could see that you would gradually be updating and modernizing it; but you are still just keeping up what you had 75 years ago in essence. You would agree!
Mr. MENK. No, I don't. It's on the same location and everything but it is an entirely new railroad as compared to 75 years ago. It is entirely new. The whole ballast section, the ties are all new, everything is new as compared to 75 years ago. The rails are anchored. You didn't anchor a rail 75 years ago. We have anchors and improved tie plates. It is an enirely different railroad but it is in the same location.
Mr. PICKLE. A wooden tie would last how long?
X!r. JENK. Our average is 39 years. A treated wooden oak hardwood tie will last about 39 years.
Mr. PICKLE. Now, if a treated wooden tie would last 39 years you haven't changed a whole lot then?
Mr. MENK. We didn't have treated wooden ties 75 years ago.
Mr. MENK. There has been an awful lot. I can give you some statistics.
Nr. PICKLE. Would you change your ties if they are going to last 39 years and put it down for 3 or 4 years and say, “I need a new model ?"
Mr. MEXK. Oh, no, we wouldn't do that at all.
Vír. PICKLE. I don't want to argue the point but I know of course you keep it as up to date as you can. I wouldn't question that. I do think there has been a great deficiency in my judgment with respect
to the roadbed, the crossties, even the rails, and I think this is one of the reasons why we have had difficulty in maintaining passenger service.
The CHAIRMAN. The time of the gentleman from North Carolina has expired. The gentleman from Washington, Mr. Adams.
Mr. Adams. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Following on Mr. Pickle's question, I wanted to ask you whether or not there is any area in your line where you have gone for new welded rails or corrected your roadbed
for high speed train operation? Mr. MENK. Yes, sir. The Northern Pacific has pioneered in welded rail. All new rail laid today is welded. We do not now in my judgment have a market for high speed transportation as there is I think in the Boston-Washington corridor. I think some day between Portland and Seattle, between Chicago and the Twin Cities, in many other large urban areas that rail-ground transportation will become the only
Mr. Adams. And what speed is your roadbed and rail system capable of handling over major stretches? You have been talking about your updating process. Mr. MENK. Under the ICC it is 67 miles an hour. Mr. ADAMs. Thank you.
Mr. Moloney, I noticed in your statement on page 11 that you have questioned the difference on section 4 which I inquired of the Administrator about the other day as to the relationship between State and Federal control under section 4 of the bill.
Is it your position that section 4 of the bill read in conjunction with the other sections of the bill would mean that the Federal Government would not control for safety purposes railroad crossings, in other words, both as to separation of grade and as to devices at crossings?
Mr. MOLONEY. Mr. Adams, I think I pointed out in my statement that the bill itself is not entirely clear in that respect but that in the testimony of the spokesmen for the Department of Transportation they made it clear that it was their intent and purpose that the regulatory power and authority in the grade crossing area would reside in the States.
Mr. Adams. And is that the interpretation that you place on it also ?
Mr. MOLONEY. On the bill?
Mr. MOLONEY. I am unable to interpret it positively one way or the other.
Mr. Adams. In other words, you do not place an interpretation on it as a position for the railroads?
Mr. MOLONEY. As to whether the States would have it?
Mr. MOLONEY. Under the bill, as you will recall, Mr. Adams, it says that the States may regulate in areas where it does not conflict with Federal regulations.
Mr. Adams. I just want to know looking at all of the terms of the bill and in particular, section 4, what the position of the railroads is, to think that highway crossings and so on which is the greatest source at the present time of accidents according to all the statistics either
can be regulated by the Federal Government, can't, or you don't have a position on it either way because you can't decide from the bill.
Mr. MOLONEY. No, I thought I attempted to make it clear in my statement where I asked questions as to why give the Secretary the broad safety authority in other areas and then with respect to grade crossings say that he shall not have it which is the intent of the DOT.
I think if the Secretary is going to be given—and we hope that will not be the case—this broad and unlimited safety authority then we think he should take over the grade crossings too.
Mr. Adams. The last question I have is with regard to section 11(c) which regards reports submitted by railroads and the degree to which accident reports could be used and this is in your statement on pages 16 and 17.
You make statements that these should not be distributed and so on. What is your position with regard to whether or not these reports can be examined by members of the public as we do with regard to the FAA and other accident reports?
Mr. MOLONEY. It may be a little unsual-I am not sure—but we have had a rather bad experience over the years with the accident reports filed by the railroad and they in one way or another becoming available, shall I say, to ambulance chasers, and I use that term advisedly. I think most members of this committee are familiar with the fact that the railroad accident may take place in the State of Georgia and you would be represented by a lawyer from Mr. Menk's home town.
They have been used for stirring up litigation. They have been used in ways that have lead certain lawyers to run into difficulties with their own bar associations.
We feel that to the extent that the reports are used the less likelihood that you get the free and full disclosure to the agency investigating, the less likelihood that it would receive the full and complete disclosure that leads to a healthy investigation. Mr. ADAMS. Thank you. I have no further questions, Mr. Chairman. The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Skubitz.
Mr. SKUBITZ. Mr. Chairman, I would like to ask the defendants a couple of questions.
Mr. Menk, I reread your statement and was impressed with some of the statements that you made.
For example, "We are concerned with safety.”
“Greater safety means an increased profit to the railroads as well as benefit to the employees and shippers."
Those are excellent statements. You would think that the railroad executives were sitting awake nights to think of new ways to bring about safety and thus improve profits. Yet the facts indicate that accidents are increasing, that derailments are increasing, that freight cars are more defective than ever and more accidents are occurring at grade crossings.
I would like to ask why this tremendous increase in derailment is the cause poor supervision?
Mr. MENK. No, I don't regard the supervision to be poor. In some areas it is getting more difficult, for instance, in the Washington area it is almost impossible to employ people. I have my own feeling that we are probably in some areas not getting the caliber of person-I think this is true in many industries that we would like to get maybe.
Although we do have strict rules, we do have strict examinations, employee examinations, and we do test them, it seems that we are having more employee negligence than we had before.
We have not cut down the supervision. We have a very vigorous safety program. As I said earlier, we are conducting an average of over 1,300 safety meetings a month. We are going out to the public too and trying to educate them in the area of grade crossings but this isn't responsive.
Mr. SKUBITZ. I think you also testified that the foremen go over the road each day. Is that true of all railroads?
Mr. MENK. I think so. Mr. SKUBITZ. Can you think of anything that the Department of Transportation would or could do that you are not doing now?
Mr. MENK. I honestly can't think of anything that they could or would do that would be constructive that would be done, that we are not doing now. Mr. MACDONALD. Would the gentleman yield for one short question? Mr. SKUBITZ. Yes.
Mr. MACDONALD. If that is your true feeling why do you oppose the bill?
Mr. MENK. Because, sir, as I said, I don't know what they are going to do. The bill doesn't say. I don't know what kind of standards they are going to put in. I admittedly cited an exaggerated hypothetical example but insofar as this bill itself is concerned, this could occur.
I don't know what they are going to do. Let me say this also, sir. Suppose that we qualify a man
Mr. MacDONALD. I don't want to use up Mr. Skubitz's time.
Mr. MENK. Suppose we qualify a man and the union agrees that he is qualified. The DOT comes along and says he is not. The union takes it to the National Railway Labor Board which is the appropriate place and the Labor Board says, “This is a matter of union-management negotiations. You pay the man.”
Who pays? There are some questions in this bill that need to be answered.
I have made some suggestions as to how I think this ought to be done in my testimony. Labor and management are willing, at your direction so far as I am concerned, to sit down and work out some standards and work out a safety program. God knows we want safety because the failure to have it costs us enormous sums of money. Personal injury liability costs are one of the big costs in the railroad business.
Mr. Skubitz. The next question I would like to ask you, Mr. Venk, is, do you think that heavier equipment and longer trains are responsible for these derailments?
Mr. MENK. Well, we are getting into a matter of scale there. If you say that, the equipment we are buying today is better than any equipment in the history of the railroads. The radios that we use, the
hot box detectors that we have installed along our rights-of-way, the surveillance that we put it through would indicate that we are able to take
Mr. SKUBITZ. What do you mean by hot box detector?
Mr. MENK. An electronic device that measures the heat of each journal box and anytime one exceeds a certain temperature it communicates that information either to a central control point or block signal which stops the train and we get in touch with the train immediately.
Incidentally, we have improved the mileage of incidence of hot boxes between terminals 10 times over a period of 10 years ago as a result of all of the things we are doing, the adoption of roller bearings, journal pads, better lubrication and hot box detectors and better surveillance and so on.
Mr. SKUBITZ. Under this bill, if the Department of Transportation would determine that trains were too long or that you didn't have enough crewmen, do you feel that this bill gives DOT the authority to order the railroads to cut down the length of the train or to hire more employees?
Mr. MENK. I assume that if they correlate it with the interests of safety if that was their opinion that this bill could do that.
Mr. SKUBITZ. What do you think, Mr. Moloney?
Mr. MOLONEY. I think it is very clear that the bill would do that and I think the Secretary of Transportation so stated.
Mr. SKUbitz. Vow, let's get to defects in freight cars. Why are the number of defective cars on the increase?
Mr. MENK. Well, I responded or tried to, to Mr. Brown. I don't know all of the reasons for this but the fleet is getting older. There are fewer cars purchased.
Mr. SKUBITZ. Do you have an inspection system?
Mr. Menk. Cars are inspected at every interchange point. They are inspected every time a train stops in a yard by a car inspector. They are inspected by the crews on line of road every time the train stops or at least our rules provide this.
Mr. SKUBITZ. That may be true of a railroad inspecting its own cars. Mr. MEXK. That is true of every one.
Mr. SKURITZ. Suppose your car gets on the Frisco track or on some eastern road. Do they inspect the car properly?
Mr. MENK. They won't take the car from you until it has been inspected.
Nr. SKUBITZ. Is that right?
Mr. SKUBITZ. One of the witnesses, I think, Mr. Crotty, pointed out that three out of five maintenance jobs have been abolished from 1950 to 1967.
Mr. MENK. That is not so.
Mr. SKUBITZ. Is there a relationship here between the number of accidents and also the reduction of maintenance workers !
Mr. MENK. Maintenance of way employment in 1958 nationally was 134,192. Maintenance of way in 1967 was 90,462. That is not three out of five.