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BNSF blames Hours of Service regulations for blocking level crossings

CLASS I railway Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) is challenging an Oklahoma mandate that enables local courts to fine railways for blocking level crossings for more than 10 minutes, reports New York's FreightWaves

BNSF blames Hours of Service regulations for blocking level crossings

CLASS I railway Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) is challenging an Oklahoma mandate that enables local courts to fine railways for blocking level crossings for more than 10 minutes, reports New York's FreightWaves

03 September 2019 - 19:00

CLASS I railway Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) is challenging an Oklahoma mandate that enables local courts to fine railways for blocking level crossings for more than 10 minutes, reports New York's FreightWaves.

Reasons for blockages cited by BNSF included limits on duty time imposed by the federal Hours of Service Laws and well as federal mandates to test brakes.



BNSF, which is an operating unit of Berkshire Hathaway, filed a suit with the US District Court in the western district of Oklahoma, charging that Oklahoma's statute, which became law on July 1, violates two existing federal laws - the Interstate Commerce Commission Termination Act and the Federal Railroad Safety Act.



Oklahoma's statute enables police to levy a fine on a stalled freight train up to US$1,000 for blocking crossings if not moving continuously forward or backward, emergencies such as accidents excepted.



BNSF argued that the two federal laws pre-empt Oklahoma's statue. The company said a variety of factors can influence why a train has to block a level crossing for more than 10 minutes.



The suit names as defendants the City of Edmond, the City of Davis, both of which are in Oklahoma, and three members of the Oklahoma Corporation Commission (OCC).


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