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Notice

Proposed Agency Information Collection Activities; Comment Request

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AGENCY:

Federal Railroad Administration, DOT.

ACTION:

Notice.

SUMMARY:

In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 and its implementing regulations, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) hereby announces that it is seeking renewal of the following currently approved information collection activities. Before submitting these information collection requirements for clearance by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), FRA is soliciting public comment on specific aspects of the activities identified below.

DATES:

Comments must be received no later than April 10, 2000.

ADDRESSES:

Submit written comments on any or all of the following proposed activities by mail to either: Mr. Robert Brogan, Office of Safety, Planning and Evaluation Division, RRS-21, Federal Railroad Administration, 1120 Vermont Ave., NW, Mail Stop 17, Washington, DC 20590, or Ms. Dian Deal, Office of Information Technology and Productivity Improvement, RAD-20, Federal Railroad Administration, 1120 Vermont Ave., NW, Mail Stop 35, Washington, DC 20590. Commenters requesting FRA to acknowledge receipt of their respective comments must Start Printed Page 6439include a self-addressed stamped postcard stating, “Comments on OMB control number _. Alternatively, comments may be transmitted via facsimile to (202) 493-6265 or (202) 493-6170, or E-mail to Mr. Brogan at robert.brogan@fra.dot.gov, or to Ms. Deal at dian.deal@fra.dot.gov. Please refer to the assigned OMB control number in any correspondence submitted. FRA will summarize comments received in response to this notice in a subsequent notice and include them in its information collection submission to OMB for approval.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Mr. Robert Brogan, Office of Planning and Evaluation Division, RRS-21, Federal Railroad Administration, 1120 Vermont Ave., NW, Mail Stop 17, Washington, DC 20590 (telephone: (202) 493-6292) or Dian Deal, Office of Information Technology and Productivity Improvement, RAD-20, Federal Railroad Administration, 1120 Vermont Ave., NW, Mail Stop 35, Washington, DC 20590 (telephone: (202) 493-6133). (These telephone numbers are not toll-free.)

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

The Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA), Pub. L. No. 104-13, § 2, 109 Stat. 163 (1995) (codified as revised at 44 U.S.C. 3501-3520), and its implementing regulations, 5 CFR part 1320, require Federal agencies to provide 60-days notice to the public for comment on information collection activities before seeking approval for reinstatement or renewal by OMB. 44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(2)(A); 5 CFR 1320.8(d)(1), 1320.10(e)(1), 1320.12(a). Specifically, FRA invites interested respondents to comment on the following summary of proposed information collection activities regarding (i) whether the information collection activities are necessary for FRA to properly execute its functions, including whether the activities will have practical utility; (ii) the accuracy of FRA's estimates of the burden of the information collection activities, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used to determine the estimates; (iii) ways for FRA to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information being collected; and (iv) ways for FRA to minimize the burden of information collection activities on the public by automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology (e.g., permitting electronic submission of responses). See 44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(2)(A)(I)-(iv); 5 CFR 1320.8(d)(1)(I)-(iv). FRA believes that soliciting public comment will promote its efforts to reduce the administrative and paperwork burdens associated with the collection of information mandated by Federal regulations. In summary, FRA reasons that comments received will advance three objectives: (i) reduce reporting burdens; (ii) ensure that it organizes information collection requirements in a “user friendly” format to improve the use of such information; and (iii) accurately assess the resources expended to retrieve and produce information requested. See 44 U.S.C. 3501.

Below are brief summaries of eight currently approved information collection activities that FRA will submit for clearance by OMB as required under the PRA:

Title: Filing of Dedicated Cars.

OMB Control Number: 2130-0502.

Abstract: Title 49, part 215 of the Code of Federal Regulations, prescribes certain conditions to be followed for the movement of freight cars that are not in compliance with this Part. These cars must be identified in a written report to FRA before they are assigned to dedicated service, and the words “Dedicated Service” must be stenciled on each side of the freight car body. FRA uses the information to determine whether the equipment is safe to operate and that the operation qualifies for dedicated service. See 49 CFR 215.5 (c) (2), 215.5 (d).

Form Number(s): N/A.

Affected Public: Businesses.

Respondent Universe: 685 railroads.

Frequency of Submission: On occasion.

Total Responses: 6.

Estimated Annual Burden: 6 hours.

Status: Regular Review.

Title: Remotely Controlled Railroad Switch Operations.

OMB Control Number: 2130-0516.

Abstract: Title 49, Section 218.30 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), ensures that remotely controlled switches are lined to protect workers who are vulnerable to being struck by moving cars as they inspect or service equipment on a particular track or, alternatively, occupy camp cars. FRA believes that production of notification requests promotes safety by minimizing mental lapses of workers who are simultaneously handling several tasks. Sections 218.30 and 218.67 require the operator of remotely controlled switches to maintain a record of each notification requesting blue signal protection for fifteen days. Operators of remotely controlled switches use the information as a record documenting blue signal protection of workers or camp cars. This record also serves as a valuable resource for railroad supervisors and FRA inspectors monitoring regulatory compliance.

Form Number(s): N/A.

Affected Public: Businesses.

Frequency of Submission: On occasion.

Reporting Burden:

CFR sectionRespondent universe (railroads)Total annual responsesAverage time per response (minutes)Total annual burden hoursTotal annual burden cost
Blue Signal Protection3503,600,000 records4240,000$6,240,000
Camp cars6004,000 notifications42676,942

Total Estimated Annual Burden: 240,267 hours.

Status: Regular Review.

Title: Bad Order and Home Shop Card.

OMB Control Number: 2130-0519.

Abstract: Under 49 CFR part 215, each railroad is required to inspect freight cars placed in service and take the necessary remedial action when defects are identified. Part 215 defects are specific in nature and relate to items that have or could have caused accidents or incidents. Section 215.9 sets forth specific procedures that railroads must follow when it is necessary to move defective cars for repair purposes. For example, railroads must affix a “bad order” tag describing each defect to each side of the freight car. It is imperative that a defective freight car be tagged “bad order” so that it may be readily identified and moved to another location for repair purposes only. At the repair point, the “bad order” tag serves as a repair record. Railroads must retain each tag for 90 days to verify that proper repairs were made at the designated location. FRA and State inspectors review all pertinent records to determine whether defective cars presenting an immediate hazard are being moved in transportation. Start Printed Page 6440

Form Number(s): N/A.

Affected Public: Businesses.

Frequency of Submission: On occasion.

Respondent Universe: 685 railroads.

Total Responses: 50,000 tags.

Average Time per Response: 10 minutes.

Estimated Total Annual Burden: 8,333 hours.

Status: Regular Review.

Title: Stenciling Reporting Mark on Freight Cars.

OMB Control Number: 2130-0520.

Abstract: Title 49, Section 215.301 of the Code of Federal Regulations, sets forth certain requirements that must be followed by railroad carriers and private car owners relative to identification marks on railroad equipment. FRA, railroads, and the public refer to the stenciling to identify freight cars.

Form Number(s): N/A.

Affected Public: Businesses.

Frequency of Submission: On occasion.

Respondent Universe: 685 railroads.

Total Responses: 35,000 cars stencilled.

Average Time per Response: 45 minutes.

Estimated Total Annual Burden: 26,250 hours.

Status: Regular Review.

Title: Disqualification Proceedings.

OMB Control Number: 2130-0529.

Abstract: Under 49 U.S.C. 20111(c), FRA is authorized to issue orders disqualifying railroad employees, including supervisors, managers, and other agents, from performing safety-sensitive service in the rail industry for violations of safety rules, regulations, standards, orders, or laws evidencing unfitness. FRA's regulations, 49 CFR part 209, Subpart D, implement the statutory provision by requiring (i) a railroad employing or formerly employing a disqualified individual to disclose the terms and conditions of a disqualification order to the individual's new or prospective employing railroad; (ii) a railroad considering employing an individual in a safety-sensitive position to ask the individual's previous employing railroad whether the individual is currently serving under a disqualification order; and (iii) a disqualified individual to inform his new or prospective employer of the disqualification order and provide a copy of the same. Additionally, the regulations prohibit a railroad from employing a person serving under a disqualification order to work in a safety-sensitive position. This information serves to inform a railroad whether an employee or prospective employee is currently disqualified from performing safety-sensitive service based on the issuance of a disqualification order by FRA. Furthermore, it prevents an individual currently serving under a disqualification order from retaining and obtaining employment in a safety-sensitive position in the rail industry.

Form Number(s): N/A.

Affected Public: Businesses.

Frequency of Submission: On occasion/recordkeeping.

Reporting Burden:

CFR sectionRespondent universe (railroads)Total annual responsesAverage time per response (minutes)Total annual burden hoursTotal annual burden cost
Provide copy of disqualification order to new or prospective employer6853 orders301.5$23
Provide copy of disqualification order to prospective employer6851 notification30.58
Request copy of disqualification order from previous employer685Usual and customary procedureN/AN/AN/A

Total Estimated Burden: 2 hours.

Status: Regular Review.

Title: Grade Crossing Signal System Safety Regulations.

OMB Control Number: 2130-0534.

Abstract: FRA believes that highway-rail grade crossing (grade crossing) accidents resulting from warning system failures can be reduced. Motorists lose faith in warning systems that constantly warn of an oncoming train when none is present. Therefore, the fail-safe feature of a warning system loses its effectiveness if the system is not repaired within a reasonable period of time. A greater risk of an accident is present when a warning system fails to activate as a train approaches a grade crossing. FRA's regulations require railroads to take specific responses in the event of an activation failure. FRA uses the information to develop better solutions to the problems of grade crossing device malfunctions. With this information, FRA is able to correlate accident data and equipment malfunctions with the types of circuits and age of equipment. FRA can then identify the causes of grade crossing system failures and investigate them to determine whether periodic maintenance, inspection, and testing standards are effective. FRA also uses the information collected to alert railroad employees and appropriate highway traffic authorities of warning system malfunctions so that they can take the necessary measures to protect motorists and railroad workers at the grade crossing until repairs have been made.

Form Number(s): FRA-F-6180.83.

Affected Public: Businesses.

Frequency of Submission: On occasion; recordkeeping.

Reporting Burden:

CFR sectionRespondent universe (railroads)Total annual responsesAverage time per response (minutes)Total annual burden hoursTotal annual burden cost
234.7—Telephone notification6854 phone calls151$35
234.9—Grade crossing signal system failure rpts685800 reports152007,000
234.9—Notification to train crew and highway traffic control authority685800 notifications152007,000
234.9—Recordkeeping685800 records152007,000
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Total Estimated Burden: 601 hours.

Status: Regular Review.

Title: Bridge Worker Safety Rules.

OMB Control Number: 2130-0535.

Abstract: Section 20139 of Title 49 of the United States Code required FRA to issue rules, regulations, orders, and standards for the safety of maintenance-of-way employees on railroad bridges, including for “bridge safety equipment'such as nets, walkways, handrails, and safety lines, and requirements for the use of vessels when work is performed on bridges located over bodies of water. FRA has added 49 CFR part 214 to establish minimum workplace safety standards for railroad employees as they apply to railroad bridges. Specifically, section 214.15(c) establishes standards and practices for safety net systems. Safety nets and net installations are to be drop-tested at the job site after initial installation and before being used as a fall-protection system; after major repairs; and at six-month intervals if left at one site. If a drop-test is not feasible and is not performed, then a written certification must be made by the railroad or railroad contractor, or a designated certified person, that the net does comply with the safety standards of this section. FRA and State inspectors use the information to enforce the Federal regulations. The information that is maintained at the job site also promotes safe bridge worker practices.

Form Number(s): N/A.

Affected Public: Businesses.

Frequency of Submission: On occasion.

Respondent Universe: 685 railroads.

Total Responses: 6 certifications.

Average Time per Response: 20 minutes.

Estimated Total Annual Burden: 2 hours.

Status: Regular Review.

Title: Two-Way End-of-Train Devices.

OMB Control Number: 2130-0540.

Abstract: Section 20141 of the United States Code amended the Federal Rail Safety laws by adding certain statutory mandates related to power brake safety, specifically regarding two-way end-of-train telemetry devices (two-way EOTs). This Section required two-way-end-of-train devices (or devices able to perform the same function) on road trains other than locals, road switchers, or work trains to enable the initiation of emergency braking from the rear of the train. The information collected enhances rail safety by ensuring that the locomotive engineer is notified if someone other than a train crew member tests the two-way end-of-train devices at the initial terminal or other point of installation to confirm that the device is capable of initiating an emergency power brake application from the rear of the train. The information collected is also used by FRA to verify that the end-of-train telemetry equipment is properly calibrated for accuracy according to the manufacturer's specifications at least every 365 days. Additionally, the information collected verifies that two-way-end-of-train device standards—such as the front unit having a manually operated switch that is labeled “Emergency” which can initiate an emergency brake transmission command to the rear unit (when activated)—are met.

Form Number(s): N/A.

Affected Public: Businesses.

Frequency of Submission: On occasion.

Reporting Burden:

CFR sectionRespondent universe (railroads)Total annual responsesAverage time per responseTotal annual burden hoursTotal annual burden cost
232.25(C)—Notification that test was performed245450,000 tests30 seconds3,750$168,750
232.25(d)—End-of-train Telemetry Equip.24535,000 stickers1 minute583168,750
232.25(d)—Two-way end-of-train device Stds.24517,571 stencils5 minutes1,46468,880

Total Estimated Burden: 5,797 hours.

Status: Regular Review.

Pursuant to 44 U.S.C. 3507(a) and 5 CFR 1320.5(b), 1320.8(b)(3)(vi), FRA informs all interested parties that it may not conduct or sponsor, and a respondent is not required to respond to, a collection of information unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number.

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Authority: 44 U.S.C. 3501-3520.

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Issued in Washington, DC on February 1, 2000.

Margaret B. Reid,

Acting Director, Office of Information Technology and Support Systems, Federal Railroad Administration.

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[FR Doc. 00-2836 Filed 2-8-00; 8:45 am]

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