Crews waiting for transportation
FRA HOS Manual - Page 1-6 (Chapter One, Page 6).
Activities after 12 hours of time on duty or the 24 hour point in a duty tour.
· Waiting for and in deadhead transportation from duty to a point of final release is the only allowable railroad-required activity after an employee has 12 hours of time on duty, or after the 24-hour point in a duty tour. See Chapter 4 of this manual. Deadhead from duty to a point of final release.
· A train crew is not waiting for deadhead transportation when;
o Transportation has not been ordered for the crew, or transportation is available but the crew is required to remain with the train.
Ø In these circumstances, the crew is considered to be monitoring the train (which is commingled service), not waiting for deadhead transportation, and this time will count as time on duty.
NOTE: The key to understanding this part of the law (freight) or regulation (passenger) is understanding that if a train employee is not legitimately waiting on deadhead transportation, that time cannot be considered limbo time.
Example Scenario I
A crew has expired under the HOS while sitting on a train 50 miles from their release point. The train is secured, or is not secured, either one. An FRA inspector is able to document that transportation has not been ordered for the crew. If the inspector can obtain enough evidence it should be recorded as a defect, or as a recommended violation against the railroad
Example Scenario II
Same scenario as number one above, only the transportation is available (arrives at the train) but the crew is required to stay with the train (usually because the train is unsecured, or a key train requirement). If the inspector can obtain enough evidence it should be recorded as a defect, or as a recommended violation against the railroad
Guidance I - Relief Crew Arrives
In many cases it will be difficult to establish when transportation was ordered, so an alternate approach is to determine if a relief crew arrived with the crew’s deadhead transportation. In these cases, if the relief crew was called to report after the relieved crew was past the 12-hour point in their duty tour, then the time from when the relieved crew was at the 12-hour point in their duty tour, to the time the relief crew reported cannot be considered limbo time, because the crew on the train was not waiting for deadhead transportation during this period of time, they were waiting for the relief crew to report. Since EO28 came out, FRA has had many complaints about railroads requiring crews to stay with trains after the 12-hour point in their duty tour, because they were waiting for relief crews to report. In no way does any regulation or emergency order allow a railroad to disregard the HSL.
Guidance II - Yardmaster requires crew to stay with the train
The most commonly violated aspect of this provision of the HSL, is when a trainmaster or yardmaster requires a train or yard crew to stay on a train, after the 12-hour point in their duty tour, when transportation is readily available at that yard. Please take exception in these cases.
Guidance III – Use good judgment – apx 30 minutes or more.
Finally, inspectors should not be looking into cases where transportation arrives 10 minutes after a train crew expires under the HOS. Inspectors should, however, investigate cases where a train crew is left on a train for several hours after their HOS has expired, or a crew is left on a train in a yard for more than 30 minutes after their HOS has expired, when transportation is readily available.