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CSX expects PTC to pave way for 1-person crews; autonomous operations - 9/7/2018

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CSX expects PTC to pave way for 1-person crews; autonomous operations


By Bill Stephens | September 6, 2018

BOSTON — CSX Transportation will eventually seek to operate trains with one-person crews on lines under the protection of positive train control, Chief Financial Officer Frank Lonegro told an investor conference this week. 

When PTC is fully operational by the end of 2020, CSX will have invested $2.4 billion in the federally mandated safety system.

“It’s clearly important that we leverage that investment,” Lonegro says. “One of the clear ways to do that is through one-person crews and ultimately, way down the road, perhaps autonomous trains.”

Railroads are expected to face increased competition from the trucking industry, which is rapidly advancing technology that will permit platooning and driverless operation. That will significantly cut the cost of trucking and enable truckers to further siphon traffic from railroads.

From a technology perspective, it will be safer and easier for railroads to deploy autonomous operations because they operate a closed network where they control all of the traffic, Lonegro says. 

The highway environment is vastly different, with multiple users and the lack of a fixed guideway like railroads enjoy.

The U.S. Department of Transportation under the Trump administration is taking a more balanced approach to technology and automation issues between modes, Lonegro says. 

The Obama administration, by contrast, sought to advance technology in trucking while favoring regulations that would mandate two-person crews.

“I don’t think technology is ultimately going to be the holdup,” Lonegro says, pointing to fully autonomous railroad operations that have begun in Australia. 

Rather, a host of labor, regulatory, and public policy issues will have to be addressed first. The full rollout of PTC by the end of 2020 likely will bring those issues to the forefront, Lonegro says.

The CFO says that he’s about to turn 50 and expects to see single-person crews by the end of his career.

Lonegro’s comments, which came in response to a question at the Cowen & Co. Global Transportation Conference on Sept. 5, are a reversal for CSX. 

Last year, then-CEO E. Hunter Harrison said he didn’t understand the industry’s desire to move toward one-person crews. 

“I’m not a one-man crew advocate,” Harrison said on CSX’s earnings call in April 2017, although he noted that there are situations where they might make sense, such as switching at mines. 

“But today to take a 20,000-ton train on line of road, with one person, I don’t think it’s good business,” Harrison said, citing safety concerns and the value of an extra set of eyes and ears in the cab. 

Plus, he said, it would pose unacceptable delays when a lone crew member has to contend with a broken air hose or a knuckle failure.

Harrison’s predecessor, Michael Ward, said that one-person crews were inevitable.

“There’s going to be autonomous vehicles out there. There’s no question. The only question is when and how much they will be deployed,” Ward said during the railroad’s earnings call in January 2017. With main lines under the protection of PTC, “one does have to question why there has to be two people in the crew,” Ward said.

“Longer term, that’s something we’re going to have to address,” Ward added, saying that he expected the industry to face challenging negotiations with labor unions.

But he said one-person crews are “inevitable. It’s just a question of when."


Tell your Senators: Support Two-Person Crew Legislation via the SMART-TD Legislative Action Center!

Elections - 9/6/2018

October meeting will close the slate on LCA and Delegate and Alt. Delegate elections.

National Negotiations update: - 10/5/2017

National Negotiations update: Coordinated Bargaining Group unions reach tentative national contract agreement

Independence, Ohio, October 5 — Rail Unions making up the Coordinated Bargaining Group (CBG) announced today that they have reached a Tentative National Agreement with the Nation’s Freight Rail Carriers. The CBG is comprised of six unions: the American Train Dispatchers Association; the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (a Division of the Rail Conference of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters); the Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen; the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Iron Ship Builders, Blacksmiths, Forgers, and Helpers; the National Conference of Firemen and Oilers / SEIU; and the Transportation Division of the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers (SMART TD).

On Wednesday, October 4th, the CBG’s full Negotiating Team met in Independence, Ohio for a review of the terms of the proposed voluntary agreement. Following that review, each of the CBG Unions’ Negotiating Teams unanimously endorsed the Tentative Agreement. On Thursday, October 5th, the involved General Chairpersons of SMART TD, BRS and BLET met as well and those groups also unanimously endorsed the Tentative Agreement for consideration by the respective membership of each Union.

The Tentative Agreement, which will be submitted to the memberships of each involved Union in the coming weeks, includes an immediate wage increase of 4%, with an additional 2.5% six months later on July 1, 2018 and an additional 3% one year later on July 1, 2019. In addition, wage increases of 2% effective July 1, 2016 and another 2% effective July 1, 2017 will be fully retroactive through implementation, for a compounded increase of 9.84% over an 18-month period and 13.14% over the 5-year contract term (this includes the First General Wage Increase of 3% implemented on January 1, 2015).

All benefits existing under the Health and Welfare Plan will remain in effect unchanged and there are no disruptions to the existing healthcare networks. While some employee participation costs are increased, the tentative agreement maintains reasonable maximum out-of-pocket protections for our members. The TA also adds several new benefits to the Health and Welfare Plan for the members of the involved unions and, importantly, it requires that the Rail Carriers will, on average, continue to pay 90% of all of our members’ point of service costs.

On a matter of critical importance, the employees’ monthly premium contribution is frozen at the current rate of $228.89. The frozen rate can only be increased by mutual agreement at the conclusion of negotiations in the next round of bargaining that begins on 1/1/2020.

In addition, the CBG steadfastly refused to accept the carriers’ demands for changes to work rules that would have imposed significant negative impacts on every one of our members. As a result of that rejection, the Tentative Agreement provides for absolutely no changes in work rules for any of the involved unions.

“This Tentative Agreement provides real wage increases over and above inflation, health care cost increases far below what the carriers were demanding, freezes our monthly health plan cost contribution at the current level, provides significant retroactive pay and imposes no changes to any of our work rules,” said the CBG Union Presidents. “This is a very positive outcome for a very difficult round of negotiations. We look forward to presenting the Tentative Agreement to our respective memberships for their consideration.”

# # #

Collectively, the CBG unions represent more than 85,000 railroad workers covered by the various organizations’ national agreements, and comprise over 58% of the workforce that will be impacted by the outcome of the current bargaining round.

2018 regional meeting information - 10/4/2017

SMART TD announces 2018 regional meeting information

SMART Transportation Division is proud to announce that the 2018 regional meetings will be held in Seattle, Washington, and in Hollywood, Florida. Reservations will not be available until after the start of the new year. More information will be forthcoming as it becomes available at www.smart-union.org/td and by clicking on the “Regional Meetings” button on the right side of the TD home page.


Seattle, Washington

Dates: July 2 – 4, 2018

Hotel: Westin, Seattle, 1900 5th Ave., Seattle, WA 98101

Rate: $179 per night

To learn more about the Westin, click here. To learn more about Seattle, click here.



Hollywood, Florida

Dates: August 6 – 8, 2018

Hotel: Hilton Diplomat Hotel, 355 South Ocean Dr., Hollywood, FL 33019

Rate: $179 per night

To learn more about the Hilton Diplomat, click here. To learn more about Hollywood, Florida, click here.

DC2RVA Public Hearings - 10/2/2017

DC2RVA Public Hearings

Please plan to join the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT) and the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) for public hearings to learn about the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) that is now available for review and comment. The Draft EIS details recommended improvements to increase reliability and provide capacity to add nine daily passenger rail round trips between Washington, D.C. and Richmond, VA.

The Draft EIS provides an overview and comparison of the alternatives under consideration including recommendations for a preferred alternative in each corridor segment. To view the Draft EIS electronically or to find out where you can read the printed executive summary, please visit the project website by clicking the button below. A narrated online presentation will be available by October 10, 2017 from the project website.

Mark Your Calendar to Attend and Bring a Friend!

DRPT will host a combined open house and formal public hearing at each of the following locations. The public will have an opportunity to discuss the project with team members before providing comments for the official record either in writing or during the formal portion of the public hearing. If you are unable to attend a hearing, the Draft EIS and the narrated online presentation along with other materials are available on the project website.

Tuesday, October 10

6:00 p.m.

Main Street Station

1500 East Main Street

Richmond, VA 23219

Add to Calendar

Wednesday, October 11

6:00 p.m.

Patrick Henry High School

12449 West Patrick Henry Road

Ashland, VA 23005

Add to Calendar

Tuesday, October 17

7:00 p.m.

Hilton Alexandria Old Town

1767 King Street 

Alexandria, VA 22314

Add to Calendar


Wednesday, October 18

7:00 p.m.

James Monroe

High School

2300 Washington Avenue

Fredericksburg, VA 22401


Add to Calendar

Thursday, October 19

7:00 p.m.

National Museum of the

Marine Corps

18900 Jefferson Davis Highway

Triangle, VA 22172

Add to Calendar


Opportunities to comment by November 7, 2017

  • Complete the electronic form: www.DC2RVArail.com/contact-us

  • Provide verbal or written comments at the public hearing

  • Provide comments to the court reporter at the public hearing or leave comments on the toll-free project online: 888-832-0900 or TDD 711

  • Mail written comments to Emily Stock, DRPT, 600 East Main Street, Suite 2102, Richmond, VA 23219

Special assistance accommodations
Meeting locations are accessible to persons with disabilities. DRPT strives to provide reasonable accommodations and services for persons who require assistance to participate. For special assistance, call the Title VI Compliance Officer, 804-786-6794 or TDD 711 at least 72 hours prior to the meeting date.

En Español?
Si necesita servicios de traducción para participar, por favor envíe un correo electrónico a: español@DC2RVArail.com. También puede llamar a la línea directa del proyecto para dejar comentarios: 888-832-0900 or TDD 711

Hotline: 888-832-0900 or TDD 711

Mail To: Emily Stock, DRPT

600 East Main Street, Suite 2102

Richmond, VA 23219

Stay Connected

Visit our website at: DC2RVArail.com

Facebook: DC2RVArail

Twitter: @DC2RVArail

Call us toll-free at: 888-832-0900 or TDD 711

The DC2RVA Team

DRPT is committed to ensuring that no person is excluded from participation in, or denied the benefits of its services on the basis of race, color, or national origin, as protected by Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. For additional information on DRPT's nondiscrimination policies and procedures or to file a complaint, please visit the website at www.drpt.virginia.gov or contact the Title VI Compliance Officer, Mike Mucha, 600 East Main Street, Suite 2102, Richmond, VA 23219.

DRPT's mission is to improve the mobility of people and goods while expanding transportation choices in the Commonwealth through rail, public transportation, and commuter services.


Washington, D.C. to Richmond Southeast High Speed Rail Team
801 East Main Street, Suite 1000
Richmond, VA 23219






Welcome to the SMART Transportation Division Local 924 website.

We meet on the First Thursday of every month, 7:30 pm at:

The Sheet Metal Workers Local 100 Building

184 E. Belt Blvd

Richmond, VA. 23224


The next meeting will be October 4, 2018 @1930