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Rail Operating Practices: NAFTA Report 1997

  • 01
  • Jan
  • 1997
AUTHOR: Transport Canada, Federal Railroad Administration
SUBJECT: Evaluation
KEYWORDS: North American Free Trade Agreement, Regulations Analysis, Joint Operations, Cross-Border Operations
ABSTRACT: Following the coming into force of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in January, 1994, the Land Transportation Standards Subcommittee (LTSS) was established to consider, among other items, the compatibility of rail safety regulations relevant to cross-border operations. The LTSS identified the following three operational issues for consideration: Crew Qualification Standards, Hours of Service Rules, and Occupational Safety and Health Regulations. In keeping with LTSS’s desire, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and Transport Canada (TC) established a close working relationship to develop a process for reviewing the computability of operating standards and resolving future regulatory differences. In order to evaluate the impact of NAFTA on the operating practices of North American railroads, United States and Canadian Transportation Departments initiated discussions. A committee of technical experts was convened to determine if the identified regulatory issues were sufficiently compatible to ensure continued and/or enhanced cross-border rail operations. This committee initiated a Technical Review Working Group (TRWG) to research the aforementioned three issues and ultimately, answer the question: Are there operating railway practices currently in existence either country that would impede the flow of goods and traffic and thus be in contravention of NAFTA? In the future, as cross-border traffic increases, our continued joint efforts will include and emphasize partnerships involving railway management, labour unions, and associations.
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