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U.S. Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and J.D. Vance (R-OH) are pressuring Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and skeptical Republicans to pass the Railway Safety Act. The NTSB’s damning investigation of Norfolk Southern’s toxic 2023 train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, is lending urgency to their effort. Senator Brown is confident there are enough votes to pass it, but there is concern about Republican opponents offering amendments to alter it.

The NTSB made 31 new safety recommendations based on its investigation into the 2023 derailment, including improved detection of wheel bearing failures, providing first responders with necessary training and hazardous materials information, implementing tougher tank car standards, and tightening operational restrictions on trains carry hazardous materials.

BLET National President Eddie Hall told that the Precision Scheduled Railroading operating model contributed to the derailment by thinning the railroad workforce, focusing on running longer trains, and by reducing thorough inspections of freight cars. He also urged Congress to pass the Railway Safety Act.

“The key point is last year’s tragic derailment wasn’t a case of error by a train crew, it was a series of errors made by railroad management,” Hall said.