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Notice

Proposed Agency Information Collection Activities; Comment Request

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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AGENCY:

Federal Railroad Administration, DOT.

ACTION:

Notice and request for comments.

SUMMARY:

In compliance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.), this notice announces that the Information Collection Requirements (ICRs) abstracted below have been forwarded to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and comment. The ICRs describes the nature of the information collections and their expected burdens. The Federal Register notice with a 60-day comment period soliciting comments on the following collections of information was published on April 1, 2003 (68 FR 15790).

DATES:

Comments must be submitted on or before July 7, 2003.

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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), Public Law 104-13, section 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 issue two notices seeking public comment on information collection activities before OMB may approve paperwork packages. 44 U.S.C. 3506, 3507; 5 CFR 1320.5, 1320.8(d)(1), 1320.12. On April 1, 2003, FRA published a 60-day notice in the Federal Register soliciting comment on ICRs that the agency was seeking OMB approval. 68 FR 15790. FRA received no comments after issuing this notice. Accordingly, DOT announces that these information collection activities have been re-evaluated and certified under 5 CFR 1320.5(a) and forwarded to OMB for review and approval pursuant to 5 CFR 1320.12(c).

Before OMB decides whether to approve these proposed collections of information, it must provide 30 days for public comment. 44 U.S.C. 3507(b); 5 CFR 1320.12(d). Federal law requires OMB to approve or disapprove paperwork packages between 30 and 60 days after the 30 day notice is published. 44 U.S.C. 3507 (b)-(c); 5 CFR 1320.12(d); see also 60 FR 44978, 44983, Aug. 29, 1995. OMB believes that the 30 day notice informs the regulated community to file relevant comments and affords the agency adequate time to digest public comments before it renders a decision. 60 FR 44983, Aug. 29, 1995. Therefore, respondents should submit their respective comments to OMB within 30 days of publication to best ensure having their full effect. 5 CFR 1320.12(c); see also 60 FR 44983, Aug. 29, 1995.

The summaries below describe the nature of the information collection requirements (ICRs) and the expected burden. The revised requirements are being submitted for clearance by OMB as required by the PRA.

Title: Railroad Signal System Requirements.

OMB Control Number: 2130-0006.

Type of Request: Extension of a currently approved collection.

Affected Public: Railroads.

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

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 Start Printed Page 34031filing 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 sections 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.

Annual Estimated Burden Hours: 480,301 hours.

Title: Filing of Dedicated Cars.

OMB Control Number: 2130-0502.

Type of Request: Extension of a currently approved collection.

Affected Public: Railroads.

Form(s): None.

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).

Annual Estimated Burden Hours: 4 hours.

Title: Remotely Controlled Switch Operations.

OMB Control Number: 2130-0516.

Type of Request: Extension of a currently approved collection.

Affected Public: Railroads.

Form(s): None.

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 15 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.

Annual Estimated Burden Hours: 120,267 hours.

Title: Bad Order and Home Shop Card.

OMB Control Number: 2130-0519.

Type of Request: Extension of a currently approved collection.

Affected Public: Railroads.

Form(s): None.

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.

Annual Estimated Burden Hours: 6,750 hours.

Title: Stenciling Reporting Mark on Freight Cars.

OMB Control Number: 2130-0520.

Type of Request: Extension of a currently approved collection.

Affected Public: Railroads.

Form(s): None.

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.

Annual Estimated Burden Hours: 15,000 hours.

Title: Locomotive Certification (Noise Compliance Regulations).

OMB Control Number: 2130-0527.

Type of Request: Extension of a currently approved collection.

Affected Public: Railroads.

Form(s): None.

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.

Annual Estimated Burden Hours: 3,520 hours.

Title: Disqualification Proceedings.

OMB Control Number: 2130-0529.

Type of Request: Extension of a currently approved collection.

Affected Public: Railroads.

Form(s): None.

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 Start Printed Page 34032unfitness. 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.

Annual Estimated Burden Hours: 5 hours.

Title: Grade Crossing Signal System Safety.

OMB Control Number: 2130-0534.

Type of Request: Extension of a currently approved collection.

Affected Public: Railroads.

Form(s): None.

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.

Annual Estimated Burden Hours: 4,151 hours.

Addressee: Send comments regarding these information collections to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget, 725 Seventeenth Street, NW., Washington, DC 20503, Attention: FRA Desk Officer.

Comments are invited on the following: Whether the proposed collections of information are necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the Department, including whether the information will have practical utility; the accuracy of the Department's estimates of the burden of the proposed information collections; ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and ways to minimize the burden of the collections of information on respondents, including the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology.

A comment to OMB is best assured of having its full effect if OMB receives it within 30 days of publication of this notice in the Federal Register.

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

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Issued in Washington, DC on June 3, 2003.

Kathy A. Weiner,

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

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[FR Doc. 03-14319 Filed 6-5-03; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4910-06-P