[Federal Register Volume 64, Number 210 (Monday, November 1, 1999)]
[Pages 58898-58899]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 99-28465]



Federal Railroad Administration

Petition for Waiver of Compliance

    In accordance with Part 211 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 from certain 
requirements of its safety regulations. 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.

CSX Transportation

[Docket Number FRA-1999-6252]

    CSX Transportation (CSXT) seeks a waiver of compliance from certain 
provisions of the Railroad Locomotive Safety Standards, 49 CFR Part 
229. Specifically, CSXT requests relief from the requirements of 49 CFR 
229.27(a)(2) Annual Tests and 49 CFR 229.29(a) Biennial Tests, as 
solely applicable to all present and future installations of the New 
York Air Brake Corporation (NYAB) Computer Controlled Brake (CCB) 
Systems on CSXT locomotives. Part 229.27(a)(2) requires that, ``Brake 
cylinder relay valve portions, main reservoir safety valves, brake pipe 
vent valve portions, feed and reducing valve portions in the air brake 
system (including related dirt collectors and filters) shall be 
cleaned, repaired, and tested'' at intervals that do not exceed 368 
calendar days. Part 229.29(a) requires in part that ``* * * all valves, 
valve portions, MU locomotive brake cylinders and electric-pneumatic 
master controllers in the air brake system (including related dirt 
collectors and filters) shall be cleaned, repaired , and tested at 
intervals that do not exceed 736 calendar days.'' CSXT requests these 
provisions be temporarily waived to accommodate the implementation of a 
Test Plan to prove the new technology incorporated in this brake system 
is more reliable and safer in the Rail Transportation Industry, with 
the intent of moving to a component repair as required, performance-
based COT&S criterion.

[[Page 58899]]

    The time interval for the requirements of Part 229.29(a) was 
extended to 1,104 calendar days in 1985 for 26L Brake equipment, based 
on proven service reliability with the evolution of improved 
components. The time interval for CCB equipment was extended to 1,840 
calendar days in 1996, per FRA Test Waiver, H-95-3.
    CSXT states that the CCB equipment used on their locomotives 
provides reliable operation based upon the availability of diagnostics, 
which continuously monitors the function of all critical components. 
When the CCB diagnostics detects operational characteristics outside 
allowed limits, the system automatically takes appropriate action to 
assure safety. Because failures are detected and fault action is 
automatically initiated, CSXT believes that COT&S intervals can be 
increased without any impact on safety.
    CSXT bases their Test Plan on the following: (1) The reduction of 
mechanical devices through the use of micro-processor logic; (2) the 
replacement of ``O'' ring technology with ``poppet'' technology; (3) 
the immediate detection of faults or improper operation through the 
vigilance of a microcomputer; (4) the control of faults to a known safe 
condition; (5) emergency brake initiation and brake cylinder pressure 
development is accomplished mechanically as well as electronically 
under any condition; and (6) the performance of CCB equipment during 
current FRA Waiver H-95-3.
    The Test Plan is designed to determine the feasibility of a 
``performance-based'' COT&S. The initial duration of the test shall be 
six years from the in-service date of the locomotives listed in the 
control group. At the end of the six years, an evaluation and review 
will be made to assess whether an extension of an additional year for 
the test will be granted. Data collection for this test shall be 
accomplished within the present structure of the CSXT Mechanical 
Operations group, with assistance of NYAB Field Service Engineering. 
The test plan has specific requirements to tag and record detailed 
information on all faulty brake components removed from locomotives 
equipped with the CCB system and covered by this waiver. Data analysis 
for confirmation of failures will be determined by CSXT, NYAB Field 
Service Engineering and/or NYAB Service Department. A ``criticality 
rating'' will be assigned to each component failure and all information 
will be compiled for an evaluation of performance.
    The periodic (92-day) test, per Sec. 229.23, will be performed on 
all locomotives in the test group and replacement of all filtering 
devices and dirt collectors will be done annually. CSXT, NYAB, and FRA 
will perform an annual test of the CCB system, per NYAB Test ABT-2771, 
on select locomotives from the control group. The results of the tests 
and the information gathered throughout the year will be used to 
determine if the test plan can be extended for another year.
    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-
1999-6252) and must be submitted to the Docket Management Facility, 
Room PL-401, (Plaza Level) 400 Seventh Street, SW, Washington, DC 
20590-0001. 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 http://dms.dot.gov.

    Issued in Washington, DC. on October 25, 1999.
Grady C. Cothen, Jr.,
Deputy Associate Administrator for Safety Standards and Program 
[FR Doc. 99-28465 Filed 10-29-99; 8:45 am]