The major freight railroads intend to shorten the spacing between the hot-bearing detectors on the main lines, Fortune magazine reported Thursday.
The major railroads include Union Pacific and BNSF in Nebraska, along with Norfolk Southern, CSX, Canadian Pacific, Kansas City Southern and Canadian National.
The hot bearing sensors are placed along the tracks and are designed to measure the heat of wheels as the train travels along. A signal is sent to the engineer.
The railroads would ensure the heat detectors average no more than 15 miles apart, Fortune magazine said.
Currently, there are no federal rules on those detectors, which can be spaced up to 40 miles apart, although most of them are much closer.
Also, the railroads said they will also commit to stopping and inspecting any train that has a bearing that registers more than 170 degrees above the outside temperature.
That’s in line with the standards already used by Norfolk Southern, which operated the train the derailed in late February in East Palestine, Ohio. That derailments released toxic chemicals. About 1,000 residents were evacuated and some of them continue to complain about health issues after they returned.
Fortune said in addition to stopping trains anytime a bearing exceeds 170 degrees, the railroads also analyze the data from sensors across their networks to identify problems even before a bearing hits that threshold.
The Association of American Railroads group said all the major railroads plan to discuss ways to improve that analysis by the end of March.
Also, the railroads said they plan to train about 20,000 first responders nationwide this year to deal with hazardous materials incidents.
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