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Proposed Agency Information Collection Activities; Comment Request

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Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), Department of Transportation (DOT).


Notice of information collection; request for comment.


Under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA) and its implementing regulations, this notice announces that FRA is forwarding the Information Collection Request (ICR) abstracted below to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and comment. The ICR describes the information collection and its expected burden. On September 11, 2020, FRA published a notice providing a 60-day period for public comment on the ICR.


Interested persons are invited to submit comments on or before January 27, 2021.


Written comments and recommendations for the proposed ICR should be sent within 30 days of publication of this notice to​public/​do/​PRAMain. Find the particular ICR by selecting “Currently under 30-day Review—Open for Public Comments” or by using the search function.

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Ms. Hodan Wells, Information Collection Clearance Officer, Office of Railroad Safety, Regulatory Analysis Division, Federal Railroad Administration, telephone: (202) 493-0440, email:

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The PRA, 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. See 44 U.S.C. 3506, 3507; 5 CFR 1320.8 through 1320.12. On September 11, 2020, FRA published a 60-day notice in the Federal Register soliciting comment on the ICR for which it is now seeking OMB approval. See 85 FR 56286. FRA received no comments in response to this notice.

Before OMB decides whether to approve the proposed collection of information, it must provide 30 days for public comment. 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 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.

Comments are invited on the following ICR regarding: (1) Whether the information collection activities are necessary for FRA to properly execute its functions, including whether the information will have practical utility; (2) 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; (3) ways for FRA to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information being collected; and (4) ways to minimize the burden of information collection activities on the public, including the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology.

The summary below describes the ICR that FRA will submit for OMB clearance as the PRA requires:

Title: Railroad Operating Rules.

OMB Control Number: 2130-0035.

Abstract: The collection of information associated with Title 49 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) parts 217 and 218, Railroad Operating Rules and Practices, requires railroads to file with FRA copies of their operating rules, timetables, timetable special instructions, and subsequent amendments. The regulations also require railroads to retain copies of these documents at their systems headquarters and make these documents available to FRA upon request.

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Through these requirements, FRA learns of operating rules and practices for trains and instructions railroads provide their employees on operating practices.

Type of Request: Extension with change (revised estimates) of a currently approved collection.

Affected Public: Businesses.

Form(s): N/A.

Respondent Universe: 765 railroads.

Frequency of Submission: On occasion.

Reporting Burden:[1]

CFR section 2Respondent universeTotal annual responsesAverage time per responseTotal annual burden hoursTotal cost equivalent 3
217.7(a)—Operating rules; filing and recordkeeping—Filing of code of operating rules, timetables, and timetable special instructions by Class Is, Class IIs, Amtrak, and commuter railroads with FRA2 new railroads2 documents1 hour2$154
—(b) Amendments to code of operating rules, timetables, and timetable special instructions by Class Is, Class IIs, Amtrak, and commuter railroads with FRA53 railroads312 revised documents20 minutes1048,008
—(c) Class III and other railroads—Copy of code of operating rules, timetables, and timetable special instructions at system headquarters2 new railroads2 documents1 hour2154
—(c) Class III and other railroads—Amendments to code of operating rules, timetables, and timetable special instructions at system headquarters798 railroads1,596 copies15 minutes39930,723
217.9(b)(2)—Program of operational tests and inspections; recordkeeping—Written records documenting qualification of each railroad testing officer765 railroads4,732 records2 minutes15812,166
—(c) Written program of operational tests and inspections2 new railroads2 programs10 hours202,300
—(d)(1) Records of operational tests/inspections765 railroads9,120,000 test records and updates5 minutes760,00058,520,000
—(d)(2) Railroad copy of current program operational tests/inspections—Amendments53 railroads159 program revisions70 minutes18614,322
—(e)(1)(i) Written quarterly review of operational tests/inspections by RRs other than passenger RRs7 Class I railroads + Amtrak32 reviews2 hours644,928
—(e)(1)(ii) 6-month review of operational tests/inspections/naming of officer7 Class I railroads14 reviews2 hours282,156
—(e)(2) 6-month review by passenger railroads designated officers of operational testing and inspection data35 Amtrak + passenger railroads70 reviews2 hours14010,780
—(e)(3) Records of periodic reviews50 railroads116 records1 minute2154
—(f)-(g) Annual summary of operational tests and inspections50 railroads50 summary records1 hour503,850
—(h)(1)(i) RR amended program of operational tests/inspections765 railroads6 revised programs30 minutes3231
—(h)(1)(ii) FRA disapproval of RR program of operational tests/inspections and RR written response in support of program765 railroads6 supporting documents1 hour6462
217.11(a)—RR periodic instruction of employees on operating rules—New railroads2 new railroads2 written programs8 hours161,232
217.11(b)—RR copy of program amendments for periodic instruction of employees765 railroads110 modified written programs30 minutes554,235
218.95(a)(5)-(b)—Instruction, training, examination—Employee completed test records765 railroads85,600 employee records1 minute1,427109,879
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—(c)(1)(i) Amended RR program of instruction, testing, examination765 railroads5 amended programs30 minutes3231
218.97(b)(4)—RR copy of good faith challenge procedures765 railroads4,732 copies to new employees6 minutes47336,421
218.97(c)(1) and (4)—RR employee good faith challenge of RR directive10 workers10 good faith challenges15 minutes3231
—(c)(5) RR resolution of employee good faith challenge2 new railroads5 responses15 minutes177
—(d)(1) RR officer immediate review of unresolved good faith challenge2 new railroads3 reviews30 minutes2154
—(d)(2) RR officer explanation to employee that Federal law may protect against employer retaliation for refusal to carry out work if employee refusal is a lawful, good faith act2 new railroads3 answers15 minutes177
—(d)(3) Employee written/electronic protest of employer final decision2 new railroads3 written protests15 minutes177
—(d)(3) Employee copy of protest2 new railroads3 copies1 minute0.18
—(d)(4) Employer further review of good faith challenge after employee written request2 new railroads2 further reviews15 minutes0.539
—(d)(4) RR verification decision to employee in writing2 new railroads2 decisions15 minutes0.539
—(e) Recordkeeping and record retention—Employer's copy of written procedures at division headquarters765 railroads765 copies5 minutes644,928
218.99(a)—Shoving or pushing movement—RR operating rule complying with section's requirements2 new railroads2 rule modifications1 hour2154
218.101(a)-(c)—Leaving equipment in the clear—Operating rule that complies with this section2 new railroads2 rule modifications30 minutes177
218.103(a)(1)—Hand-Operated Switches—Operating Rule that Complies with this section2 new railroads2 rule modifications30 minutes177
Total765 railroads9,348,371 responsesN/A763,23658,770,040

Total Estimated Annual Responses: 9,348,371.

Total Estimated Annual Burden: 763,236 hours.

Total Estimated Annual Burden Hour Dollar Cost Equivalent: $58,770,040.

Under 44 U.S.C. 3507(a) and 5 CFR 1320.5(b) and 1320.8(b)(3)(vi), FRA informs all interested parties that a respondent is not required to respond to, conduct, or sponsor a collection of information that does not display a currently valid OMB control number.

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

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Brett A. Jortland,

Deputy Chief Counsel.

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1.  FRA provides a revised PRA table that includes updated burdens associated with §§ 217.11, 218.95, and 218.97. The estimates have been updated after an internal review.

2.  Note: The current inventory estimates a total burden of 4,791,614 hours while the requesting inventory estimates a total burden of 763,236 hours. There is no change in the method of the collection. However, FRA determined some of the estimates were double counted and/or outdated, while other estimates were not PRA requirements, thus leading to the increased figures in the current inventory, which were decreased accordingly in this notice. Also, totals may not add due to rounding.

3.  The dollar equivalent cost is derived from the Surface Transportation Board's Full Year Wage A&B data series using the appropriate employee group hourly wage rate that includes a 75-percent overhead charge. The hourly wage rate used is $77 per hour ($44.27 * 1.75 = $77).

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[FR Doc. 2020-28472 Filed 12-23-20; 8:45 am]