The US Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Federal Railroad Administration has announced $350,000 in grants to help mitigate risk associated with shipping hazardous materials by rail.
The funding will be used in the development of a short-line safety institute, which will work to improve the culture of safety within the short-line and regional rail industry while improving its overall safety record.
A total of $250,000 of the investment will be used by the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association to begin the pilot phase of safety culture assessments.
The remaining amount will be used by the University of Connecticut to conduct initial work that will focus on the development, testing and validation of safety education, and training and development for managers and employees.
Transport secretary Anthony Foxx said: "Nearly half of all short line and regional railroads handle some type of hazardous materials and today’s grants will play an important role in ensuring those materials and all shipments reach their destination safely.
"These grants are just the latest step in our comprehensive approach to improving the safe transport of crude oil and other hazmat by rail."
Federal Railroad Administrator Joseph C Szabo said: "Although the short-line industry has an excellent safety record overall, we owe it to the public and the industry to drive continuous safety improvement.
"These grants are a first step in assisting the industry to further identify and contain risks."
Image: The Buckingham Branch Railroad is a typical example of a Class III short-line in Virginia. Photo: courtesy of William Grimes.