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From left: BLET’s Andrew Arias, NJ State Senator Patrick Diegnan, and BLET’s Ray Vigil at the New Jersey State Senate’s hearing to consider a rail safety bill on November 27, 2023.

Members of the BLET’s New Jersey State Legislative Board (NJ SLB) delivered important testimony on November 27 as the State Senate considers rail safety legislation. Ray Vigil, NJ SLB Chairman, and Andrew Arias, NJ SLB Secretary-Treasurer, testified in favor of Bill S4049, which would mandate two person train crews, limit train length, and require wayside detectors. During his testimony, Brother Vigil explained how excessively long trains are risky and can delay first responders when seconds count. “The longer the train, the higher the risk. The longer the train, the more crossings that are blocked for long periods of time, in many cases, sometimes two and a half hours or three hours,” Vigil said. Other key elements of Brother Vigil’s testimony were featured in the New Jersey Monitor. Speaking in support of the bill’s two-person crew provision, Art Vatsky, a Teaneck resident and member of the Coalition to Ban Unsafe Oil Trains, told lawmakers: “I favor two-person crews the same as I favor two-person pilots in airlines. Would anyone fly with a plane worth millions of dollars with one pilot? Pilots are human. Pilots get sick. Pilots have heart attacks. Pilots have emotional problems. We need two engineers on these cars, on these trains.”