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Season 5, Episode 24

Has anything changed one year after the derailment in East Palestine?

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Guest Name:

Eddie Hall

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National President of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen, Eddie Hall, joined the America’s Work Force Union Podcast to talk about the growing concerns with the rail industry one year after the tragic events in East Palestine, Ohio. Hall also discussed the impact Precision Scheduled Railroading has had on the industry and what he believes needs to be done to improve railway safety.

Nearly one year ago, the derailment at East Palestine, Ohio occurred. Hall feels it created an opportunity to hold discussions and create legislation that could improve the rail industry, something that hasn’t progressed like he hoped. With the introduction of Precision Scheduled Railroading (PSR) in 2019, the industry became more hazardous for workers and the communities these trains travel through. Inspections have been reduced, the time to perform them has been shortened, and workers are asked to work longer shifts with fewer operators per train. 

Hall discussed why the changes made due to PSR lead to more mistakes and derailments. With the limited time to perform inspections, workers can no longer walk the train and check the air system for potential leaks. This has led to unsafe situations while trains are under load, especially when they travel on an incline. Hall also discussed why he believes, based on his experience, there has been an increased rate of derailments, with a recent high of three daily derailments.

The train length has continued to grow since the introduction of PSR, something Hall said is leading to greater risk to workers and the communities they travel through. Trains are now approaching 12,000 feet long as part of cost-cutting measures, and he explained how the connections between cars are not made to handle the weight of the train cars under load. If the carriers choose to cut down on workers manning the trains, he believes they need to shorten the train lengths to improve safety. Hall discussed the legislation in Congress that could improve working conditions and safety on the rails if passed.

For more on the rail industry, please listen to the show above.

America’s Work Force is the only daily labor podcast in the US and has been on the air since 1993, supplying listeners with useful, relevant input into their daily lives through fact-finding features, in-depth interviews, informative news segments and practical consumer reports. America’s Work Force is committed to providing an accessible venue in which America's workers and their families can hear discussion on important, relevant topics such as employment, healthcare, legislative action, labor-management relations, corporate practices, finances, local and national politics, consumer reports and labor issues.

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