Railway Preservation News

49 CFR Part 230.3 Implimentation
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Author:  John E. Rimmasch [ Tue Feb 03, 2015 1:46 pm ]
Post subject:  49 CFR Part 230.3 Implimentation

A very fair question has been raised in respect to K&T 14 and the installation of the tubes.

Rumor: The rumor is that we (WRC) installed the tubes prior to the FRA having the opportunity to inspect the boiler. In addition the rumor states that FRA has directed WRC to REMOVE all tubes for inspection. Both rumors are false and here is why;

49 CFRP Part 230.16 (B) Notification: It is my responsibility to ensure that we notify FRA of our projects, annual inspections, Hydro tests and so on. This has been done as noted in this section. In the case of the K&T 14 there are no less than 4 letters to the regional office making requests for inspections of the boiler prior to tube installation and or hydro testing. During our last round with the FRA we presented all letters to them and then reminded them in part of.....

49 CFR Part 230.3 (2) FRA Silence, herein the rule states that if the fails to respond, or take action, as long as we have complied with the rules, we can proceed. The fact is, the letters to FRA, plus the inspections that they have on file span a period of more than 10 years. It is a fact that FRA has had and been presented with ample opportunity to see the interior of this boiler. (FRA silence is spoken of many times in the rule, this is just one example.) comments above paraphrased from multiple sections.

Why the mistake? In discussions with the region offices, it has been determined that in the 10 year period, many inspectors have come and gone, files have been overlooked or miss handled and things have indeed "fallen through the cracks" at no defined fault of any party (FRA, current or past contractors or RR) With all of that in mind, we have yet again submitted ample documentation to FRA, we have discussed over the phone a number of issues and FRA, as per CFR Part 230. 16 was unable to attend our last inspection. We are and we will notify them of further inspections and we will make provisions for in-depth inspections of the boiler, including some use of a scope to see the interior when we perform our final testing and inspections. FRA has been notified in person that we will ensure them every opportunity to see all aspects of the boiler.

To sort out the rumor: Indeed, had we (WRC) NEVER notified FRA of the project or the opportunity to inspect, indeed, in that situation they could require us to remove tubes and do it over. In respect to the fact that ample and multiple notifications were given and in respect to the fact that FRA declined the last inspection opportunity and as per 49CFR Part 230, we are legally allowed to install the tubes and progress forward and we will ensure that FRA gets to see all of the boiler that they want to see, so long as that does not impose a financial burden on the owner, which is also spelled out in the law.

It is important for our industry to note: It is our duty to inform the FRA, it is the FRA's duty to respond.

Now a final trick question: Where in the 49 CFR does it REQUIRE that FRA see the interior of the boiler BEFORE tubes are installed?

It was a fair question, unfair rumor and I hope that this clears it up.

Thank you,

Author:  Dave [ Tue Feb 03, 2015 2:44 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: 49 CFR Part 230.3 Implimentation

Thank you John for an accurate and informative explanation of what the rule really says, not what somewhat informed people think it says. There's a lot of misconception going on out there.....a careful reading will generally answer a lot of questions.


Author:  wilkinsd [ Tue Feb 03, 2015 4:20 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: 49 CFR Part 230.3 Implimentation

It has been my understanding, after reading the rules, and talking with professionals in the know that in fact there is no requirement that the FRA inspect the boiler interior before tube installation. However, many operators still extend an invitation to the local regional office to come perform such an inspection, by sending a letter as prescribed. This is mainly done as a courtesy. What do you do if you invite and they don't come? Carry on.

In a similar vein, I know of one museum operator who used up a year's worth of time waiting for the FRA to issue them an "ok" that their locomotive was approved for operation after submitting the initial FRA paperwork, when the rules clearly state essentially "we'll let you know if there's a problem, otherwise proceed"

Author:  MargaretSPfan [ Tue Feb 03, 2015 5:11 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: 49 CFR Part 230.3 Implimentation

How long is one expected to wait for the FRA to respond before one can assume that "silence = assent"?

John -- Thank you very much for this and all your other posts, which I have found very informative. I thank you and everyone at Wasatcvh for all your excellent work on these wonderful machines.

Author:  John E. Rimmasch [ Tue Feb 03, 2015 6:47 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: 49 CFR Part 230.3 Implimentation

Mr. Wilkins is a practicing attorney in the Salt Lake City area. It was my great honor to have lunch with him a few months ago. Mr. Wilkins is well versed in the law.

I am sure he will agree with me when I say that there are many aspects of our "culture" that end up being practiced as law or the "law of the land" when indeed, it is a cultural issue that "dictates" the reason, not a legal reason that dictates the action. There are a number of items in 49CFR (all sections) that have become "cultural law" not written edict. To read the 49 CFR Part 230 from front to back only takes a few hours at most. I would encourage all to take some time to read and study said document.

FRA Silence:

This topic is covered in a number of areas, Margaret. The period of silence that is allowed is different for each case. In the end, FRA has enough loop holes to hang you from a tree. It is always best to not rub "Silence" in their face. In my situation above, I calmly addressed the fact that notification was given and allowed the FRA inspectors to notice the fact that they had been silent. There was no need for me to remind them of the silence clause and I had no intention of rubbing that in an inspectors face. Once they saw the multiple notifications and noticed that they had no inspection record to support the notifications, it goes without saying that they were silent.

We had a similar instance in CA a few years ago. That inspector got on me fairly hard about progressing on work without HIS notification. I listened calmly and then asked for an email address to which I could send a copy of the notification that was sent to the Regional Office. Though he never apologized, he did notice that indeed, the region had fallen silent on the matter at no fault of my own.....or his really.

49 CFR places ALL responsibility for compliance on the shoulders of those who do the work, not on the FRA. This is made very clear in the first few pages of Part 230.

Author:  Pegasuspinto [ Tue Feb 03, 2015 7:22 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: 49 CFR Part 230.3 Implimentation

In Mr. Rimmasch's case, it's entirely likely that silence from the FRA is a passive 'vote of confidence'. If you have limited resources, concentrate on the problem children and let the ones who get it done right, be.

Author:  Mark Jordan [ Tue Feb 03, 2015 8:05 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: 49 CFR Part 230.3 Implimentation

I can testify/witness that a FRA MP&E inspector DID enter the boiler before WASATCH ever set foot on the property. I don't remember his name, but can testify that at that time he had no comments. This was before the original firebox was removed.

Author:  MargaretSPfan [ Tue Feb 03, 2015 10:35 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: 49 CFR Part 230.3 Implimentation

Thank you very much, John.

I had heard from others that FRA silence is sometimes a vote of their confidence in the quality of the work being done.

Author:  John E. Rimmasch [ Tue Feb 03, 2015 11:20 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: 49 CFR Part 230.3 Implimentation

Thank you all for the responses.

As much as we may think that silence is a vote of confidence, it actually is a very scary deal in my view. I do not believe that Wasatch, Strasburg, D&SNG, Grand Canyon, Valley Railroad or any other should expect silence in the work that they do. It actually makes me wonder who is in the wheel house.

49 CFR spells out very clearly that inspectors and regions shall not, for any reason show favoritism or bias to any organization for any reason. The job of the FRA is to ENFORCE a minimum set of established standards in the better interest of public safety. I can promise you, if I were ever told by an inspector that "FRA was silent because we knew that ----------- (in my case, WASATCH) was on the job....." I would be on a plane to DC in about 30 seconds after the first heartbeat wanting answers. FRA can not and better not ever be silent with me on purpose simply because we were on the job. For that matter, if I ever found out that they had done this with any other organization, I would still be on the plane knocking on the front door in DC in about 32 seconds after hearing the news.

The CFR is clear, it is my job to read, understand and apply the regulations correctly, it is their job to ensure that I have done my job.

If any of you ever find out that silence was due to some sort of bias, raise the red flag and call you regional office. If you do not want to do that call on your own please call Lynn M. at the Burg or call me, or any member of the ESC and report the situation. It will be properly passed up the chain of command in short order.

At the beginning of every ESC meeting a discussion is held about what is going on in the industry and what we need to be concerned about......my projects are never excluded from the discussion about what is going on in the industry!!!!

Thank you Mark for the affirmation that A.) FRA was notified and B.) They either had done inspections or simply did not properly record said inspections.

Author:  softwerkslex [ Wed Feb 04, 2015 2:30 am ]
Post subject:  Re: 49 CFR Part 230.3 Implimentation

Really interesting

Author:  hamster [ Wed Feb 04, 2015 6:05 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: 49 CFR Part 230.3 Implimentation

I got interested in finding out more on the locomotive boiler section of the old ASME code. While I did not find anything on the old boiler code, I did run across this article written by Steve Lee shortly after CFR49 Part 230 was revised in 2000. I include the link because the discussion remains very valuable today, even 14 years later, specifically on the involvement of the FRA in inspections and what the rules say and don't say.


Author:  Robby Peartree [ Wed Feb 04, 2015 8:28 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: 49 CFR Part 230.3 Implimentation

230.6 fra inspection oversite
Robby Peartree

6. FRA Inspection Oversight
Concerned that an adequate level of
safety be maintained in light of the
extended inspection intervals allowed
under this rule, the task force
recommended that FRA increase the
amount of oversight it exercises over
steam locomotive inspections. FRA
shares the task force’s concerns and is,
therefore, requiring that the agency be
afforded the opportunity to be present
during certain periodic steam
locomotive inspections. In the case of
the 31 service day inspection, FRA will
be responsible for communicating to the
steam locomotive owner and/or operator
that the agency wants to be notified
prior to the inspection and given an
opportunity to attend. Upon
notification, the steam locomotive
owner and/or operator must provide
FRA with the anticipated date and
location for the inspection. Once that
information is conveyed to the agency,
any subsequent change in the inspection
schedule must be mutually agreed upon.
FRA believes this approach balances
competing interests and comports with
the task force recommendations. In
formulating their recommendation, the
task force members sought to provide
steam locomotive owners and/or
operators with the flexibility to conduct
their business without unreasonable
interference by FRA scheduling
demands while also insuring that the
owners and/or operators would act in
good faith and take all reasonable
measures to accommodate FRA requests
to be present at periodic locomotive
In the case of the annual inspection,
the steam locomotive owner and/or
operator is required to provide FRA
with one month’s prior notice that the
annual inspection is to be conducted.
The agency then has the option of
notifying the owner and/or operator of
its desire to be present for the
inspection. At that point, the steam
locomotive owner and/or operator must
provide FRA with a scheduled date and
location for each aspect of the
inspection. As with the 31 service day
inspection, once the annual inspection
is scheduled, any changes to that
schedule have to be mutually agreed
This notification scheme is designed
to allow the agency the opportunity to
observe the steam locomotive owner
and/or operator performing the various
required inspections and to allow the
FRA field personnel directly responsible
for inspecting steam locomotive
operations to work cooperatively with
the regulated community. Being able to
observe the inspections firsthand also
provides FRA with more accurate and
up-to-date information on the condition
of the steam locomotive fleet operating

§ 230.16 Annual inspection.
(a) General. (1) An individual
competent to conduct the inspection
shall perform the annual inspection
after 368 calendar days have elapsed
from the time of the previous annual
inspection. This inspection shall
include all daily, all 31 service day, all
92 service day, and all annual
inspection items. (See appendix B of
this part.)
(2) Fifth annual inspection. An
individual competent to do so shall
perform a flexible staybolt and cap
inspection in accordance with § 230.41
at each fifth annual inspection.
(b) FRA notification. FRA Regional
Administrators shall be provided
written notice at least one month prior
to an annual inspection and shall be
afforded an opportunity to be present. If
the Regional Administrator or their
delegate indicates a desire to be present,
the steam locomotive owner and/or
operator will provide a scheduled date
and location for the inspection. Once
scheduled, the inspection must be
performed at the time and place
specified, unless the Regional
Administrator and the steam locomotive
owner and/or operator mutually agree to
reschedule. If the Regional
Administrator requests the inspection
be performed on another date but the
steam locomotive owner and/or operator
and the Regional Administrator are
unable to agree on a date for
rescheduling, the inspection may be
performed as scheduled.
(c) Filing inspection reports. Within
10 days of completing the annual
inspection, the steam locomotive owner
and/or operator shall file, for each steam
locomotive inspected, a report of
inspection (FRA Form No. 3), in the
place where the steam locomotive is
maintained and with the FRA Regional
Administrator for that region. (See
appendix A of this part)
§ 230.17 One thousand four hundred
seventy-two (1472) service day inspection.
(a) General. Before any steam
locomotive is initially put in service or
brought out of retirement, and after
every 1472 service days or 15 years,
whichever is earlier, an individual
competent to conduct the inspection
shall inspect the entire boiler. In the
case of a new locomotive or a
locomotive being brought out of
retirement, the initial 15 year period
shall begin on the day that the
locomotive is placed in service or 365
calendar days after the first flue tube is
installed in the locomotive, whichever
comes first. This 1472 service day
inspection shall include all annual, and
5th annual, inspection requirements, as
well as any items required by the steam
locomotive owner and/or operator or the
FRA inspector. At this time, the
locomotive owner and/or operator shall
complete, update and verify the
locomotive specification card (FRA
Form No. 4), to reflect the condition of
the boiler at the time of this inspection.
See appendices A and B of this part.

The above was stollen from

Author:  Nathan [ Wed Feb 04, 2015 9:33 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: 49 CFR Part 230.3 Implimentation


The stuff from the old ASME Section III was incorporated in the new Section I. Read through it, it's all there.


Author:  jasonsobczynski [ Wed Feb 04, 2015 10:48 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: 49 CFR Part 230.3 Implimentation

First off, "Pegasuspinto" has to be the most amusing screen name on here.

Past that, I've heard of other instances where notifications were overlooked. I've had inspectors say "just give me a call" while others (in keeping with the CFR) have said to write the regional office AND follow up with a call.
I know of several instances where patches were going in barrel courses.... MANY months went by with no response because, as pointed out by someone above, there was no issue (as pointed out) and it was intended for the patch installation to proceed. Another instance called for a locomotive to go into service but the inspector could not make it despite proper notice, the locomotive ran and the ground was stomped upon. Much as your instance (John), details were discussed with regional (and then Washington) with notice being pointed out and all was resolved.

For the record, all of the inspectors related to the negative instances are retired. Point is simply that John's situation just shows that our federal government CAN make mistakes ;-)

Cheers, Jason

Author:  TimReynolds [ Wed Feb 04, 2015 11:49 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: 49 CFR Part 230.3 Implimentation

Quite an interesting thread. The federal government has experienced retirement en-mass over the last several years resulting in a massive reduction in staff knowledge. I can imagine that the FRA has been hit with this reality as well. When you couple this with the fact that steam locomotive boiler inspection is a rare element on their regulatory plate, the delays and "silence" are somewhat inevitable.

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