Bill would mandate 2-person freight train crews

3:03 PM, Aug 2, 2013   |    comments
Photo: François Laplante-Delagrave/AFP/Getty Images
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PORTLAND, Maine (AP) - Rep. Mike Michaud of Maine has introduced a bill that would mandate a minimum crew of two for freight trains.

Canada transportation officials issued a directive banning solo-operator freight trains following a train derailment in Canada that claimed 47 lives just 10 miles from the Maine border. A Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway executive blamed the train's operator for failing to set enough hand brakes.

There's nothing to indicate an extra crew member would have made a difference in the July 6 tragedy but some expressed surprise that one person had been in charge of an oil train that was nearly a mile long.

Michaud, whose bill is co-sponsored by Rep. Chellie Pingree of Maine, says there's a significant safety advantage to having at least two crew members.

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