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Petition for Waiver of Compliance

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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In accordance with section 238.21 of Title 49 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), notice is hereby given that the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) received a request for a waiver of compliance with certain requirements of its safety standards. The individual petition is described below, including the party seeking relief, the regulatory provisions involved, the nature of the relief being requested, and the petitioner's arguments in favor of relief.

Northen Indiana Commuter Transportation District

The Northen Indiana Commuter Transportation District (NICTD), further identified herein as the railroad, seeks approval for a waiver of compliance with the requirements of the Passenger Equipment Safety Standards contained in 49 CFR 238.105(d)(1), train electronic hardware and software safety. Section 49 CFR 238.105(d)(1) states that:

“Hardware and software that controls or monitors a train's primary braking system shall either: (i) Fail safely by initiating a full service brake application in the event of a hardware or software failure that could impair the ability of the engineer to apply or release the brakes; or (ii) Access to direct manual control of the primary braking system (both service and emergency braking) shall be provided to the engineer.”Start Printed Page 77870

The railroad is purchasing 14 new bi-level electric passenger MU's and the braking software being provided by the manufacturer only partly meets the above requirements. The railroad requests that an application of only emergency brakes in the event of a loss of power, or failure (hardware and software), of the friction brake control unit be allowed in lieu of either the requirement for a full service brake application or restoration of direct manual control of the primary braking system to the operator.

The 14 new electric MU locomotives are being built by Sumitomo Corporation of America/Nippon Sharyo and the air brake system is provided by Knorr Brake Corporation, Westminster, Maryland. The railroad explains in their petition that the full service brake application is transmitted electronically to each MU's Friction Brake Control Unit (FBCU). The FBCU then provides the requested brake application without drawing down brake pipe pressure. An Emergency Magnetic Valve (EMV) is provided on each MU for an electronic emergency brake application. During normal operations, the EMVs are energized in the closed position and any loss of power or software malfunction causes the EMVs to open and vent to atmosphere causing the brakes over the entire consist to apply at an emergency rate.

Interested parties are invited to participate in these proceedings by submitting written views, data, or comments. FRA does not anticipate scheduling a public hearing in connection with these proceedings since the facts do not appear to warrant a hearing. If any interested party desires an opportunity for oral comment, they should notify FRA, in writing, before the end of the comment period and specify the basis for their request.

All communications concerning these proceedings should identify the appropriate docket number (e.g., Waiver Petition Docket Number FRA-2008-0139) and may be submitted by any of the following methods:

  • Web site: Follow the online instructions for submitting comments.
  • Fax: 202-493-2251.
  • Mail: Docket Operations Facility, U.S. Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., W12-140, Washington, DC 20590.
  • Hand Delivery: 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., Room W12-140, Washington, DC 20590, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

Communications received within 45 days of the date of this notice will be considered by FRA before final action is taken. Comments received after that date will be considered as far as practicable. All written communications concerning these proceedings are available for examination during regular business hours (9 a.m.-5 p.m.) at the above facility. All documents in the public docket are also available for inspection and copying on the Internet at the docket facility's Web site at

Anyone is able to search the electronic form of any written communications and comments received into any of our dockets by the name of the individual submitting the comment (or signing the comment, if submitted on behalf of an association, business, labor union, etc.). You may review DOT's complete Privacy Act Statement in the Federal Register published on April 11, 2000 (Volume 65, Number 70; Pages 19477-78).

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Issued in Washington, DC on December 15, 2008.

Grady C. Cothen, Jr.,

Deputy Associate Administrator for Safety Standards and Program Development.

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[FR Doc. E8-30158 Filed 12-18-08; 8:45 am]