Minnesota BLET members have been working hard to advance several railroad safety bills that have been introduced this legislative session that would protect the public and railroad workers. After years of extreme cost cutting measures under a business model called Precision Scheduled Railroading, Minnesota’s Class 1 railroads have been struggling to keep the rail network within the state fluid. The congestion within the rail network has resulted in rail carriers imposing embargos to products that are key to Minnesota’s economy.

Cuts to safety programs, maintenance, and inspections have added to the challenges the rail carriers are facing that has resulted in several high profile derailments. Among other safety improvements, the proposed Minnesota legislation limits train length to 8,500 feet, requires railroad companies to install wayside detectors on every 10 to 15 miles of track and amends an existing Minnesota Statute that regulates contract crew haulers by increasing insurance coverage and imposing penalties for violations.

This legislation has been introduced in a series of bills authored by Rep. Jeff Brand (D Mankato) and Senator Robert Kupec (D Moorehead). The BLET Minnesota Legislative Board thanks Rep. Brand and Senator Kupec for their tireless work to protect railroad workers.