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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 June 2, 2003.

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. Debra Steward, 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 include 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. Steward at debra.steward@fra.dot.gov. Please refer to the assigned OMB control number in any correspondence Start Printed Page 15791submitted. 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 Debra Steward, Office of Information Technology and Productivity Improvement, RAD-20, Federal Railroad Administration, 1120 Vermont Ave., NW., Mail Stop 35, Washington, DC 20590 (telephone: (202) 493-6139). (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 hours (hours)Total annual burden cost
Blue Signal Protection708,942,500 records2298,083$9,240,573
Camp Cars74,000 notifications42678,277

Total Estimated Annual Burden: 298,350 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.

Form Number(s): N/A.

Affected Public: Businesses.

Frequency of Submission: On occasion.

Respondent Universe: 685 railroads.

Total Responses: 165,000 tags/notifications/records.

Average Time Per Response: 4.636 minutes. Start Printed Page 15792

Estimated Total Annual Burden: 12,750 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: 20,000 cars stencilled.

Average Time Per Response: 45 minutes.

Estimated Total Annual Burden: 15,000 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 universeTotal annual responsesAverage time per responseTotal annual burden hoursTotal annual burden cost
Respondent reply to disqualification order40,000 locomotive engineers1 doc. reply3 hours3 hours$135
Informal reply to proposed disqualification order40,000 locomotive engineers1 informal response1 hour1 hour45
Provide copy of disqualification order to prospective employer685 railroads1 notification30 minutes.5 hour23
Request copy of disqualification order from previous employer685 railroadsUsual and customary procedureN/AN/AN/A

Total Estimated Burden: 5 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 hours (hours)Total annual burden cost
234.7—Telephone Notification6854 phone calls151$34
234.9—Grade crossing signal system failure rpts.685600 reports151505,100
234.9—Notification to train crew and highway traffic control authority68524,000 notifications52,00068,000
234.9—Recordkeeping68512,000 records102,00068,000
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Total Estimated Burden: 4,151.

Status: Regular Review.

Title: New Locomotive Certification (Noise Compliance Regulations).

OMB Control Number: 2130-0527.

Abstract: Part 210 of Title 49 of the United States Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) pertains to FRA's noise enforcement procedures which encompass rail yard noise source standards published by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). EPA has the authority to set these standards under the Noise Control Act of 1972. The information collected by FRA under Part 210 is necessary to ensure compliance with EPA noise standards for new locomotives.

Form Number(s): N/A.

Affected Public: Businesses.

Frequency of Submission: On occasion.

Respondent Universe: 2 Locomotive Manufacturers.

Total Responses: 2,040 requests/badges/measurements.

Average Time Per Response: 1.725 hours.

Estimated Total Annual Burden: 3,520 hours.

Status: Regular Review.

Title: Railroad Signal System Requirements.

OMB Control Number: 2130-0006.

Abstract: The regulations pertaining to railroad signal systems are contained in 49 CFR parts 233 (Signal System Reporting Requirements), 235 (Instructions Governing Applications For Approval of a Discontinuance or Material Modification of a Signal System), and 236 (Rules, Standards, and Instructions Governing the Installation, Inspection, Maintenance, and Repair of Systems, Devices, and Appliances). Section 233.5 provides that each railroad must report to FRA within 24 hours after learning of an accident or incident arising from the failure of a signal appliance, device, method, or system to function or indicate as required by part 236 of this title that results in a more favorable aspect than intended or other condition hazardous to the movement of a train. Section 233.7 sets forth the specific requirements for reporting signal failures within 15 days in accordance with the instructions printed on Form FRA F 6180.14. Finally, Section 233.9 sets forth the specific requirements for the “Signal System Five Year Report.” It requires that every five years each railroad must file a signal system status report. The report is to be prepared on a form issued by FRA in accordance with the instructions and definitions provided. Title 49, Part 235 of the Code of Federal Regulations, sets forth the specific conditions under which FRA approval of modification or discontinuance of railroad signal systems is required and prescribes the methods available to seek such approval. The application process prescribed under Part 235 provides a vehicle enabling FRA to obtain the necessary information to make logical and informed decisions concerning carrier requests to modify or discontinue signaling systems. Section 235.5 requires railroads to apply for FRA approval to discontinue or materially modify railroad signaling systems. Section 235.7 defines material modifications' and identifies those changes that do not require agency approval. Section 235.8 provides that any railroad may petition FRA to seek relief from the requirements under 49 CFR part 236. Sections 235.10, 235.12, and 235.13 describe where the petition must be submitted, what information must be included, the organizational format, and the official authorized to sign the application. Section 235.20 sets forth the process for protesting the granting of a carrier application for signal changes or relief from the rules, standards, and instructions. This section provides the information that must be included in the protest, the address for filing the protest, the item limit for filing the protest, and the requirement that a person requesting a public hearing explain the need for such a forum. Section 236.110 requires that the test results of certain signaling apparatus be recorded and specifically identify the tests required under sections 236.102-109; sections 236.377 to 236.387; sections 236.576, 236.577; and section 236.586-236.589. Section 236.110 further provides that the test results must be recorded on preprinted or computerized forms provided by the carrier and that the forms show the name of the railroad; place and date of the test conducted; equipment tested; tests results; repairs; and the condition of the apparatus. This section also requires that the employee conducting the test must sign the form and that the record be retained at the office of the supervisory official having the proper authority. Results of tests made in compliance with section 236.587 must be retained for 92 days, and results of all other tests must be retained until the next record is filed, but in no case less than one year. Additionally, section 236.587 requires each railroad to make a departure test of cab signal, train stop, or train control devices on locomotives before that locomotive enters the equipped territory. This section further requires that whoever performs the test must certify in writing that the test was properly performed. The certification and test results must be posted in the locomotive cab with a copy of the certification and test results retained at the office of the supervisory official having the proper authority. However, if it is impractical to leave a copy of the certification and test results at the location of the test, the test results must be transmitted to either the dispatcher or one other designated official, who must keep a written record of the test results and the name of the person performing the test. All records prepared under this section are required to be retained for 92 days. Finally, section 236.590 requires the carrier to clean and inspect the pneumatic apparatus of automatic train stop, train control, or cab signal devices on locomotives every 736 days, and to stencil, tag, or otherwise mark the pneumatic apparatus indicating the last cleaning date.

Form Number(s): FRA F 6180.14; FRA F 6180.47.

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
233.5—Reporting of accidents68510 phone calls30 minutes5$170
233.7—False proceed signal failures report685100 reports15 minutes25850
233.9—5 Year signal system reportN/AOutside scope of PRAOutside scope of PRA(1)(1)
235.5—Block signal applications80111 applications10 hours1,11037,740
235.8—Applicatioins for relief8024 relief requests2.5 hours602,040
235.20—Protest letters8084 protest letters30 minutes421,428
236.110—Record keeping80936,660 forms27 minutes427,88114,547,954
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236.587—Departure tests18730,000 tests4 minutes48,6671,654,678
236.590—Pneumatic valves186,697 stencilings22.5 minutes2,51185,374
1 Outside scope of PRA.

Total Estimated Burden: 480.301 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 March 26, 2003.

Kathy A. Weiner,

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

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[FR Doc. 03-7807 Filed 3-31-03; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4910-06-P