UTU Local 867

Email us @ utulocal867@yahoo.com


SMART TD applauds DOT’s tank car final rule - 5/1/2015

SMART TD applauds DOT’s tank car final rule



Washington, D.C. – Earlier today, the Department of Transportation (DOT) announced its final rule for rail shipments of flammable liquids. The rule calls for enhanced safety standards for High-Hazard Flammable Trains (HHFT), including stricter tank car construction standards, the phasing out of older tank car models, the use of electronically controlled pneumatic brakes (ECP), and will make permanent previously announced speed restrictions.

John Risch, SMART Transportation Division National Legislative Director, welcomed DOT’s final rule, specifically applauding the mandate of ECP brakes: “This is a game changer. I’ve operated trains with ECP brakes, and they are the greatest advancement in safety I’ve seen in my 35 years in the industry.”

According to a 2006 FRA report, ECP brakes can stop trains 40-70% faster than conventional train brakes and allow for a graduated release, which is vital to the safe handling of trains in cold weather and on heavy grades. ECP brakes will save the lives of railroad workers and better protect the millions of Americans living near rail lines.” The DOT’s ECP mandates must be fully complied with by May 2023.

Additionally, Risch expressed relief that the rule does not unreasonably restrict train speeds, something that would add to traffic congestion and further delay passenger rail service. The rule will restrict all HHFTs to 50 mph in all areas and restrict certain HHFTs to 40 mph in designated high-risk urban areas.

“While this rule will go a long way towards ensuring the safety of our nation’s railroads, more can be done. We now urge the DOT and Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) to ensure that all freight trains are operated by a minimum of two individuals – a certified conductor and certified engineer,” said Risch.

We need your help - 3/9/2015

Brothers and Sisters,

We need your help contacting your Congressman and urging them to support a clean version of H.R. 749 the Passenger Rail Reform and Infrastructure Act. (PRRIA)

This important legislation funds and sustains a key component of our national transportation system.

We fully support this legislation despite having concerns that the bill does not provide Amtrak with the funding levels
it needs to make needed repairs and upgrades to an aging system. As Amtrak’s annual budget requests have established, its aging fleet needs replacing and the system faces significant and disruptive renovations to tracks, bridges, tunnels, and other infrastructure in the coming years.

This bill is an important step in bringing long-term stability and investment to America’s passenger rail operations. Once again, we urge you to support a clean PRRIA bill and look forward to working with you to create the transportation network that Americans want and deserve.

Click the link below to find your Congressman.


Long Term Disability - 3/1/2015

Long-term disability program forthcoming

disability-insurance_imageThe trustees of the SMART Voluntary Short-Term Disability program are pleased to announce that they have reached a tentative agreement with Anthem Life Insurance Co. on a group long-term disability plan for our bus and rail members.

The plan is intended to provide a seamless transition to long-term coverage for members when disability exceeds the short-term policy limits. Participation is voluntary.

The plans will offer various options for coverage and premium rates. Implementation will include an open-enrollment period that will allow members to enroll in a combination of short- and long-term disability coverage without any pre-existing condition exclusion.

Details regarding the implementation timeline, an explanation of the new benefit options and enrollment instructions for the long-term disability plan will be forthcoming shortly.

Crews waiting for transportation - 9/30/2014

In their Hours of Service manual, the FRA has further clarified the issue of how the HOS law applies to train crews awaiting transportation after their hours of service has expired. 

All time after 12 hours on duty is NOT limbo time automatically.  If the deadhead transportation has not been dispatched to pick up the crew when their 12 hours have expired, that is a violation of HOS requirements.

 See below.   


 James Stem 


National Legislative Director

SMART – Transportation Division

304 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE                                        

Washington, DC   20003-1147

   (202) 543-7714

      Fax (202) 544-3024    

         Cell  (202) 256-8021







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. 

New list of local officers effective 11/6/13 - 11/14/2013


UTU LCA #867 Officers

President: B.A. Dandridge (515) 250-4991

Vice President: E.D. Varvel (515) 710-6451

Secretary/Treasurer: J.A. Biladeau Jr. (515) 681-6520

Local Chairman 225A (Road): R.D. Laborde (515) 238-5423

Local Chairman 225B (Yard): R.E. Martinson (515) 720-7049

Local Chairman 225E (Eng): J.R. Amundson (515) 285-2225

Vice LC 225A: J.S. Todhunter (515) 249-3055

Vice LC 225A: T.M. Babberl (515) 205-4741

Vice LC 225B: J.R. Rhoades Jr. (515) 577-7070

Delegate: R.D. Laborde

Alt. Delegate: J.S. Todhunter

Legislative Rep: R.E. Martinson

Alt. Legislative Rep: J.S. Todhunter

Trustee: T.M. Babberl

Trustee: J.P. Cornwell

Trustee: C.L. Crook



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Monthly Meetings---1st Wednesday of each month at 7pm @ the Machinist Hall 2000 Walker St. Des Moines, IA


Mark your Calendars. The 2015 Smart TD-UTU picnic will be held on Saturday July 11th @ Union Labor Park at 4640 NW Morningstar Drive, Des Moines, Iowa 50313. Food and drinks will be provided. Food will be served at noon. Come out and join us. 


Brothers and Sisters,

We need your help contacting your Congressman and urging them to support a clean version of H.R. 749 the Passenger Rail Reform and Infrastructure Act. (PRRIA)









If you are furloughed or on the AWTS board you need to call the RRB and apply for unemployment benefits. You may qualify for benefits even if you are getting a check from the railroad. 


Location Federal Building, Room 921
210 Walnut Street
Des Moines, IA 50309-2116
Hours 9:00 AM THRU 3:30 PM
Monday through Friday except Federal Holidays
Telephone (515) 284-4344
Fax (515) 284-4616