49 CFR Part 240, Appendix B to Part 240 - Procedures for Submission and Approval of Locomotive Engineer Qualification Programs

View PDF at GPO Pt. 240, App. B
Appendix B to Part 240—Procedures for Submission and Approval of Locomotive Engineer Qualification Programs
This appendix establishes procedures for the submission and approval of a railroad's program concerning the training, testing, and evaluating of persons seeking certification or recertification as a locomotive engineer in accordance with the requirements of this part (see §§ 240.101, 240.103, 240.105, 240.107, 240.123, 240.125, 240.127 and 240.129). lt also contains guidance on how FRA will exercise its review and approval responsibilities.
Submission by a Railroad
As provided for in § 240.101, each railroad must have a program for determining the qualifications of each person it permits or requires to operate a locomotive. In designing its program a railroad must take into account the trackage and terrain over which it operates, the system(s) for train control that are employed, the operational design characteristics of the track and equipment being operated including train length, train makeup, and train speeds. Each railroad must submit its individual program to FRA for approval as provided for in § 240.103. Each program must be accompanied by a request for approval organized in accordance with this appendix. Requests for approval must contain appropriate references to the relevant portion of the program being discussed. Requests should be submitted in writing on standard sized paper (8-1/2×11) and can be in letter or narrative format. The railroad's submission shall be sent to the Associate Administrator for Safety, FRA. The mailing address for FRA is 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., Washington, DC 20590.
Organization of the Submission
Each request should be organized to present the required information in the following standardized manner. Each section must begin by giving the name, title, telephone number, and mailing address of the person to be contacted concerning the matters addressed by that section. If a person is identified in a prior section, it is sufficient to merely repeat the person's name in a subsequent section.
Section 1 of the Submission: General Information and Elections
The first section of the request must contain the name of the railroad, the person to be contacted concerning the request (including the person's name, title, telephone number, and mailing address) and a statement electing either to accept responsibility for educating previously untrained persons to be qualified locomotive engineers or recertify only engineers previously certified by other railroads (see § 240.103(b)).
If a railroad elects not to conduct the training of persons not previously trained to be a locomotive engineer, the railroad is not obligated to submit information on how the previously untrained will be trained. A railroad that makes this election will be limited to recertifying persons initially certified by another railroad. A railroad that initially elects not to accept responsibility for training its own locomotive engineers can rescind its initial election by obtaining FRA approval of a modification of its program (see § 240.103(e)).
If a railroad elects to accept responsibility for conducting the education of persons not previously trained to be locomotive engineers, the railroad is obligated to submit information on how such persons will be trained but has no duty to actually conduct such training. A railroad that elects to accept the responsibility for the training of such persons may authorize another railroad or a non-railroad entity to perform the actual training effort. The electing railroad remains responsible for assuring that such other training providers adhere to the training program the railroad submits.
This section must also state which class or classes of service the railroad will employ. (See § 240.107).
Section 2 of the Submission: Selection of Supervisors of Locomotive Engineers
The second section of the request must contain information concerning the railroad's procedure for selecting the person or persons it will rely on to evaluate the knowledge, skill, and ability of persons seeking certification or recertification. As provided for in § 240.105 each railroad must have a procedure for selecting supervisors of locomotive engineers which assures that persons so designated can appropriately test and evaluate the knowledge, skill, and ability of individuals seeking certification or recertification.
Section 240.105 provides a railroad latitude to select the criteria and evaluation methodology it will rely on to determine which person or persons have the required capacity to perform as a supervisor of locomotive engineers. The railroad must describe in this section how it will use that latitude and evaluate those it designates as supervisors of locomotive engineers so as to comply with the performance standard set forth in § 240.105(b). The railroad must identify, in sufficient detail to permit effective review by FRA, the criteria for evaluation it has selected. For example, if a railroad intends to rely on one or more of the following, a minimum level of prior experience as an engineer, successful completion of a course of study, or successful passage of a standardized testing program, the submission must state which criteria it will employ.
Section 3 of the Submission: Training Persons Previously Certified
The third section of the request must contain information concerning the railroad's program for training previously certified locomotive engineers. As provided for in § 240.123(b) each railroad must have a program for the ongoing education of its locomotive engineers to assure that they maintain the necessary knowledge concerning personal safety, operating rules and practices, mechanical condition of equipment, methods of safe train handling (including familiarity with physical characteristics), and relevant Federal safety rules.
Section 240.123(b) provides a railroad latitude to select the specific subject matter to be covered, duration of the training, method of presenting the information, and the frequency with which the training will be provided. The railroad must describe in this section how it will use that latitude to assure that its engineers remain knowledgeable concerning the safe discharge of their train operation responsibilities so as to comply with the performance standard set forth in § 240.123(b). This section must contain sufficient detail to permit effective evaluation of the railroad's training program in terms of the subject matter covered, the frequency and duration of the training sessions, the training environment employed (for example, and use of classroom, use of computer based training, use of simulators, use of film or slide presentations, use of on-job-training) and which aspects of the program are voluntary or mandatory.
Safe train handling involves both abstract knowledge about the appropriate use of engine controls and the application of that knowledge to trains of differing composition traversing varying terrain. Time and circumstances have the capacity to diminish both abstract knowledge and the proper application of that knowledge to discrete events. Time and circumstances also have the capacity to alter the value of previously obtained knowledge and the application of that knowledge. In formulating how it will use the discretion being afforded, each railroad must design its program to address both loss of retention of knowledge and changed circumstances, and this section of the submission to FRA must address these matters.
For example, locomotive engineers need to have their fundamental knowledge of train operations refreshed periodically. Each railroad needs to advise FRA how that need is satisfied in terms of the interval between attendance at such training, the nature of the training being provided, and methods for conducting the training. A matter of particular concern to FRA is how each railroad acts to assure that engineers remain knowledgeable about safe train handling procedures if the territory over which a locomotive engineer is authorized to operate is territory from which the engineer has been absent. The railroad must have a plan for the familiarization training that addresses the question of how long a person can be absent before needing more education and, once that threshold is reached, how the person will acquire the needed education. Similarly, the program must address how the railroad responds to changes such as the introduction of new technology, new operating rule books, or significant changes in operations including alteration in the territory engineers are authorized to operate over.
Section 4 of the Submission: Testing and Evaluating Persons Previously Certified
The fourth section of the request must contain information concerning the railroad's program for testing and evaluating previously certified locomotive engineers. As provided for in § 240.125 and § 240.127, each railroad must have a program for the ongoing testing and evaluating of its locomotive engineers to assure that they have the necessary knowledge and skills concerning personal safety, operating rules and practices, mechanical condition of equipment, methods of safe train handling (including familiarity with physical characteristics), and relevant Federal safety rules. Similarly, each railroad must have a program for ongoing testing and evaluating to assure that its locomotive engineers have the necessary vision and hearing acuity as provided for in § 240.121.
Sections 240.125 and 240.127 require that a railroad rely on written procedures for determining that each person can demonstrate his or her knowledge of the railroad's rules and practices and skill at applying those rules and practices for the safe operation of a locomotive or train. Section 240.125 directs that, when seeking a demonstration of the person's knowledge, a railroad must employ a written test that contains objective questions and answers and covers the following subject matters: (i) Personal safety practices; (ii) operating practices; (iii) equipment inspection practices; (iv) train handling practices (including familiarity with the physical characteristics of the territory); and (v) compliance with relevant Federal safety rules. The test must accurately measure the person's knowledge of all of these areas.
Section 240.125 provides a railroad latitude in selecting the design of its own testing policies (including the number of questions each test will contain, how each required subject matter will be covered, weighting (if any) to be given to particular subject matter responses, selection of passing scores, and the manner of presenting the test information). The railroad must describe in this section how it will use that latitude to assure that its engineers will demonstrate their knowledge concerning the safe discharge of their train operation responsibilities so as to comply with the performance standard set forth in § 240.125.
Section 240.127 directs that, when seeking a demonstration of the person's skill, a railroad must employ a test and evaluation procedure conducted by a designated supervisor of locomotive engineers that contains an objective evaluation of the person's skills at applying the railroad's rules and practices for the safe operation of trains. The test and evaluation procedure must examine the person's skills in terms of all of the following subject matters: (i) Operating practices; (ii) equipment inspection practices; (iii) train handling practices (including familiarity with the physical characteristics of the territory); and (iv) compliance with relevant Federal safety rules. The test must be sufficient to effectively examine the person's skills while operating a train in the most demanding type of service which the person is likely to encounter in the normal course of events once he or she is deemed qualified.
Section 240.127 provides a railroad latitude in selecting the design of its own testing and evaluation procedures (including the duration of the evaluation process, how each required subject matter will be covered, weighing (if any) to be given to particular subject matter response, selection of passing scores, and the manner of presenting the test information). However, the railroad must describe the scoring system used by the railroad during a skills test administered in accordance with the procedures required under § 240.211. The description shall include the skills to be tested and the weight or possible score that each skill will be given. The section should also provide information concerning the procedures which the railroad will follow that achieve the objectives described in FRA's recommended practices (see appendix E) for conducting skill performance testing. The section also gives a railroad the latitude to employ either a Type 1 or a Type 2 simulator (properly programmed) to conduct the test and evaluation procedure. A railroad must describe in this section how it will use that latitude to assure that its engineers will demonstrate their skills concerning the safe discharge of their train operation responsibilities so as to comply with the performance standard set forth in § 240.127.
Section 240.121 provides a railroad latitude to rely on the professional medical opinion of the railroad's medical examiner concerning the ability of a person with substandard acuity to safely operate a locomotive. The railroad must describe in this section how it will assure that its medical examiner has sufficient information concerning the railroad's operations to effectively form appropriate conclusions about the ability of a particular individual to safely operate a train.
Section 5 of the Submission: Training, Testing, and Evaluating Persons Not Previously Certified
Unless a railroad has made an election not to accept responsibility for conducting the initial training of persons to be locomotive engineers, the fifth section of the request must contain information concerning the railroad's program for educating, testing, and evaluating persons not previously trained as locomotive engineers. As provided for in § 240.123(c), a railroad that is issuing an initial certification to a person to be a locomotive engineer must have a program for the training, testing, and evaluating of its locomotive engineers to assure that they acquire the necessary knowledge and skills concerning personal safety, operating rules and practices, mechanical condition of equipment, methods of safe train handling (including familiarity with physical characteristics), and relevant Federal safety rules.
Section 240.123 establishes a performance standard and gives a railroad latitude in selecting how it will meet that standard. A railroad must describe in this section how it will use that latitude to assure that its engineers will acquire sufficient knowledge and skill and demonstrate their knowledge and skills concerning the safe discharge of their train operation responsibilities. This section must contain the same level of detail concerning initial training programs as that described for each of the components of the overall program contained in sections 2 through 4 of this appendix. A railroad that plans to accept responsibility for the initial training of locomotive engineers may authorize another railroad or a non-railroad entity to perform the actual training effort. The authorizing railroad may submit a training program developed by that authorized trainer but the authorizing railroad remains responsible for assuring that such other training providers adhere to the training program submitted. Railroads that elect to rely on other entities, to conduct training away from the railroad's own trackage, must indicate how the student will be provided with the required familiarization with the physical characteristics for its trackage.
Section 6 of the Submission: Monitoring Operational Performance by Certified Engineers
The final section of the request must contain information concerning the railroad's program for monitoring the operation of its certified locomotive engineers. As provided for in § 240.129, each railroad must have a program for the ongoing monitoring of its locomotive engineers to assure that they operate their locomotives in conformity with the railroad's operating rules and practices including methods of safe train handling and relevant Federal safety rules.
Section 240.129 requires that a railroad annually observe each locomotive engineer demonstrating his or her knowledge of the railroad's rules and practices and skill at applying those rules and practices for the safe operation of a locomotive or train. Section 240.129 directs that the observation be conducted by a designated supervisor of locomotive engineers but provides a railroad latitude in selecting the design of its own observation procedures (including the duration of the observation process, reliance on tapes that record the specifics of train operation, and the specific aspects of the engineer's performance to be covered). The section also gives a railroad the latitude to employ either a Type 1 or a Type 2 simulator (properly programmed) to conduct monitoring observations. A railroad must describe in this section how it will use that latitude to assure that the railroad is monitoring that its engineers demonstrate their skills concerning the safe discharge of their train operation responsibilities. A railroad must also describe the scoring system used by the railroad during an operational monitoring observation or unannounced compliance test administered in accordance with the procedures required under § 240.303. A railroad that intends to employ train operation event recorder tapes to comply with this monitoring requirement shall indicate in this section how it anticipates determining what person was at the controls and what signal indications or other operational constraints, if any, were applicable to the train's movement.
Section 7 of the Submission: Procedures for Routine Administration of the Engineer Certification Program
The final section of the request must contain a summary of how the railroad's program and procedures will implement the various specific aspects of the regulatory provisions that relate to routine administration of its certification program for locomotive engineers. At a minimum this section needs to address the procedural aspects of the rule's provisions identified in the following paragraph.
Section 240.109 provides that each railroad must have procedures for review and comment on adverse prior safety conduct, but allows the railroad to devise its own system within generalized parameters. Sections 240.115, 240.117 and 240.119 require a railroad to have procedures for evaluating data concerning prior safety conduct as a motor vehicle operator and as railroad workers, yet leave selection of many details to the railroad. Sections 240.203, 240.217, and 240.219 place a duty on the railroad to make a series of determinations but allow the railroad to select what procedures it will employ to assure that all of the necessary determinations have been made in a timely fashion; who will be authorized to conclude that person is or is not qualified; and how it will communicate adverse decisions. Documentation of the factual basis the railroad relied on in making determinations under §§ 240.205, 240.207, 240.209, 240.211, and 240.213 is required, but these sections permit the railroad to select the procedures it will employ to accomplish compliance with these provisions. Sections 240.225 and 240.227 permit reliance on qualification determinations made by other entities and permit a railroad latitude in selecting the procedures it will employ to assure compliance with these provisions. Similarly, § 240.229 permits use of railroad selected procedures to meet the requirements for certification of engineers performing service in joint operations territory. Sections 240.301 and 240.307 allow a railroad a certain degree of discretion in complying with the requirements for replacing lost certificates or the conduct of certification revocation proceedings.
This section of the request should outline in summary fashion the manner in which the railroad will implement its program so as to comply with the specific aspects of each of the rule's provisions described in preceding paragraph.
FRA Review
The submissions made in conformity with this appendix will be deemed approved within 30 days after the required filing date or the actual filing date whichever is later. No formal approval document will be issued by FRA. The brief interval for review reflects FRA's judgment that railroads generally already have existing programs that will meet the requirements of this part. FRA has taken the responsibility for notifying a railroad when it detects problems with the railroad's program. FRA retains the right to disapprove a program that has obtained approval due to the passage of time as provided for in section § 240.103.
FRA initially proposed specifying the details for most aspects of the programs being submitted under this appendix. The proposed rule contained a distillation of the essential elements of pre-existing training, testing, evaluating, and monitoring programs that appear to result in railroads having locomotive engineers who operate locomotives and trains safely. The proposal contained very specific details for each aspect of the program that appeared to contribute to that result. Those details included such things as the duration of classes intended to teach operating rules as well as the interval and methodology for acquiring familiarization with physical characteristics of an engineer's operational territory. Railroads commenting on the proposed rule did not question the validity of the FRA's views concerning the essential elements of an effective program but did convince FRA that they should be given more discretion to formulate the design of their individual programs.
Rather than establish rigid requirements for each element of the program as initially proposed, FRA has given railroads discretion to select the design of their individual programs within a specified context for each element. The proposed rule, however, provides a good guide to the considerations that should be addressed in designing a program that will meet the performance standards of this final rule. In reviewing program submissions, FRA will focus on the degree to which a particular program deviates from the norms identified in its proposed rule. To the degree that a particular program submission materially deviates from the norms set out in its proposed rule which was published in the Federal Register on December 11, 1989 (54 FR 50890), FRA's review and approval process will be focused on determining the validity of the reasoning relied on by a railroad for selecting its alternative approach and the degree to which the alternative approach is likely to be effective in producing locomotive engineers who have the knowledge, skill, and ability to safely operate trains.
[56 FR 28254, June 19, 1991, as amended at 74 FR 25175, May 27, 2009; 74 FR 68185, Dec. 23, 2009]

Title 49 published on 2013-10-01

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