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Long Island Rail Road; Notice of Public Hearing

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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On September 16, 2005, FRA published a notice in the Federal Register announcing the Long Island Railroad's intent to be granted a waiver of compliance from certain provisions of the Railroad Operating Practices regulations, 49 CFR 218, regarding blue signal protection of workers. See 70 FR 54801. Specifically, the LIRR requests relief from the requirements of 49 CFR 218.29 Alternate methods of protection, at its Diesel Service Facilities in Richmond Hills, NY, and Long Island City, NY.

According to LIRR, both facilities are stub-end yards jointly used by both Transportation and Mechanical forces. These yards function to service, maintain, inspect, and dispatch the diesel passenger fleet for the LIRR. Each facility has a speed limit of 5 mph, with fixed derails on each service track, and manually operated switches. Yard movement is controlled by a Start Printed Page 68510yardmaster. Due to the configuration and service demands, the yard cannot facilitate the placement of a derail at the 150-foot interval as prescribed in § 218.29. Additionally, LIRR believes that lining and locking the manual switches increases potential error of proper switch alignment, and is a safety concern for all employees working in the area. Therefore, LIRR requested that employees at these two facilities be allowed to place derails at a distance of 50-feet from the equipment. LIRR stated that they will post signage to reinforce the 5 mph speed restriction, as well as paint physical clearance lines denoting the 50-foot distance.

As a result of the comments received by FRA concerning this waiver petition, FRA has determined that a public hearing is necessary before a final decision is made on this petition. Accordingly, a public hearing is hearby set to begin at 9 a.m. on December 21, 2005, in Conference Room 820 at the Hunters Point Plaza, 47-40 21st Street, Long Island City, New York, 11101. Interested parties are invited to present oral statements at this hearing.

The hearing will be informal and will be conducted in accordance with FRA's Rules of Practice (49 CFR Part 211.25) by a representative designated by FRA. FRA's representative will make an opening statement outlining the scope of the hearing, as well as any additional procedures for the conduct of the hearing. The hearing will be a non-adversarial proceeding in which all interested parties will be given the opportunity to express their views regarding this waiver petition, without cross-examination. After all initial statements have been completed, those persons wishing to make brief rebuttal statements will be given an opportunity to do so in the same order in which initial statements were made.

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Issued in Washington, DC, on November 4, 2005.

Grady C. Cothen, Jr.,

Deputy Associate Administrator for Safety Standards and Program Implementation.

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[FR Doc. 05-22393 Filed 11-9-05; 8:45 am]