Letter Responding to a Request for Information from the Ranking Member of the House of Representatives’ Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines and Hazardous
We prepared this letter in response to a request from Ranking Member Capuano for information on the Federal Railroad Administration’s (FRA) oversight of railroad tunnel safety.
The Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (RSIA) established a goal for FRA to improve the safety of railroad bridges, tunnels, and related infrastructure. During our research for this response to Ranking Member Capuano, FRA indicated that it has not issued regulations to govern tunnel safety and does not plan to do so. FRA also has not assigned staff to perform specific tunnel safety oversight, but FRA inspectors, in the course of their normal duties, observe tunnel conditions and notify railroads of any potential safety issues. FRA officials stated that Agency safety staff have not received specific training or guidance for tunnel observations and that their observations do not include tunnel structural integrity assessments.