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 Post subject: Federal Railroad Administration Regulations
PostPosted: Tue Dec 10, 2013 2:08 am 

Joined: Tue Oct 08, 2013 10:55 pm
Posts: 2
Forgive me, I am new to posting and the forum but I have one question. I have been keeping up with all the restoration projects and was wondering for engines that ran mainline excursions just under 20 yrs ago what Regulations do they need to meet. For reference, the N&W 611 last ran in 1994, so what has changed in 20 yrs of Class I railroads that restoring this steam engine and others need to me again or surpass at this point.

Thank you for your answers

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A Walston aka Stonewall
First ride was behind Southern Railway 722
Most recent behind Southern Railway 630
Looking forward to seeing N&W 611 run again


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 Post subject: Re: Federal Railroad Administration Regulations
PostPosted: Tue Dec 10, 2013 3:17 am 

Joined: Thu Nov 22, 2007 5:46 am
Posts: 2447
Location: S.F. Bay Area
You are correct that steam locomotive regulation has had a complete "reboot" since the Gettysburg debacle.

Here are the various chapters of FRA regulations. The steam section is at 49 CFR 230.

It depends on which track the locomotive wants to run next year. Each operation falls into one of 3 buckets:

#1. Insular: entirely behind a fence on private property. Henry Ford/Stone Mountain.
#2. General System: They want to operate on railroads actively used by REVENUE freight trains. (765, 4449, 611 we presume etc.)
#3. Neither #1 nor #2. They stay on track not used by revenue freight. Cass Scenic, Rio Vista Jct, Fox River trolley, Catskill Mtn, etc.

Case #2, they must comply with EVERY FRA chapter except for 227, 238 and 239.

Case #1 and #3, they are exempt from many, but must comply with the steam locomotive regulations in 230. For instance Noblesville Indiana is case #3, so NKP 587 must comply fully with 230 but is exempt from 229 and 232.

And by "exempt" I mean that FRA still has emergency-order authority to stop practices which are reckless and likely to put the public at risk; they inspect for that purpose. They are satisfied if they see practices in place which are reasonable for you.


Last edited by robertmacdowell on Tue Dec 10, 2013 3:28 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Federal Railroad Administration Regulations
PostPosted: Tue Dec 10, 2013 3:25 am 
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Joined: Fri Oct 01, 2004 2:46 pm
Posts: 1903
Location: Pac NW, via North Florida
I have always wondered about operations that occasionally venture out onto freight lines? There are two near me, Mt Rainier Scenic and the Chehalis operation. Both operate on dedicated rails that can haul freight, but God knows the last time that has happened. They each go out to freight lines (both former MLW, now Tacoma Rail) from time to time...

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 Post subject: Re: Federal Railroad Administration Regulations
PostPosted: Tue Dec 10, 2013 3:36 am 

Joined: Thu Nov 22, 2007 5:46 am
Posts: 2447
Location: S.F. Bay Area
In that case, the part of the heritage operation which goes onto the "general system" (freight lines) has to comply with all the regs (but never 49 CFR 227, 238 or 239). This typically means the train equipment has to be maintained to the regs.

Such an operation does NOT push the tourist line into the general system, so they do not need to do all the business/administration/paperwork stuff a general-system railroad does, nor do they need to inspect and maintain the track to FRA standard.

It's even better than that: they can take freight cars for *themselves* and that does not put them in the general system.
If UPRR ventured down their railroad to deliver the cars, that also would not put them in the general system.

Of course, any crew operating in the general system has to comply with the kaboodle of general-system regs.


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 Post subject: Re: Federal Railroad Administration Regulations
PostPosted: Tue Dec 10, 2013 2:22 pm 

Joined: Tue Sep 14, 2004 7:52 am
Posts: 1235
Location: Strasburg, PA
722Stnwll wrote:
I have been keeping up with all the restoration projects and was wondering for engines that ran mainline excursions just under 20 yrs ago what Regulations do they need to meet. For reference, the N&W 611 last ran in 1994, so what has changed in 20 yrs of Class I railroads that restoring this steam engine and others need to me again or surpass at this point.

Regarding the original question, unless I am mistaken, only Part 230, and sections of Part 231 deal with the steam locomotive specifically. The other parts mentioned deal with other aspects of an operation that are not steam engine specific.
Mainly the changes involved:
1. Modifying the required inspection frequencies to recognize the seasonal nature of most steam operations today.
2. Calling out boiler strength requirements specifically and in detail that were implied in the original Inspection Law.
3. Recognizing modern inspection technology like ultrasonic thickness testing and x-ray, and welded boiler repairs.
4. Increasing the number of water gauges required from one to two.

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"It was not easy to convince Allnutt. All his shop training had given him a profound prejudice against inexact work, experimental work, hit-or-miss work."
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Strasburg Rail Road Mechanical Department


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 Post subject: Re: Federal Railroad Administration Regulations
PostPosted: Fri Dec 13, 2013 12:53 am 

Joined: Tue Oct 08, 2013 10:55 pm
Posts: 2
Thank you gentlemen for your help in this area and for the link to the regulations.

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A Walston aka Stonewall
First ride was behind Southern Railway 722
Most recent behind Southern Railway 630
Looking forward to seeing N&W 611 run again


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