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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 Part 211 of Title 49 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), notice is hereby given that the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has received a request for a waiver of compliance from 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.

Metropolitan Transit Authority

The Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA), on behalf of the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) and Metro-North Commuter Rail (MNCW), 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.”

This waiver is for over 1,000 M-7 electric MU's already being operated over LIRR and MNCW. The braking software 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 electric MU locomotives brake systems were provided by Knorr Brake Corporation and the electronic control logic was provided by Mitsubishi Electric Company. The railroad explains in their petition that the full service brake application is transmitted electronically to an analog converter which provides pneumatic brake force through application and release magnet valves. Emergency brake function is provided by venting brake pipe to initiate a trainline brake application. Emergency brake application can be initiated via the Master Controller, the B3C conductors valve, or by loss of trainline power to the emergency magnet valve circuit causing trainline to 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-2008-0156) 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, S.E., 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 January 14, 2009.

Grady C. Cothen, Jr.,

Deputy Associate Administrator for Safety Standards and Program Development.

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[FR Doc. E9-1216 Filed 1-21-09; 8:45 am]