FRA Certification Helpline: (216) 694-0240

On May 20, the FRA published two final rules that will require railroads to develop certification standards and training programs for train dispatchers and signal workers. Unlike locomotive engineers, there have previously been no federal regulations mandating specific training requirements, safety and knowledge checks, and verification of safety records for these crafts.

The Associated Press reported that part of FRA’s intent was to counteract Wall Street pressure on railroads to continually cut costs. “Railroading has become an increasingly complex and demanding line of work, as employees must learn and adapt to new technologies and computerized systems, and as continuing workforce reductions have placed a greater responsibility on current and new workers,” FRA Administrator Amit Bose said. “By establishing a federal standard on the certification of dispatchers and signal employees, FRA is ensuring that railroads properly prepare, train, and equip their workforce, now and in the future.”

Leaders of both the American Train Dispatchers Association and the Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen characterized the certification standards as a positive development for railroad safety.