train crossingSPRINGFIELD – Freight trains in Illinois would be required to be operated by a crew of at least two people under a safety proposal introduced by State Senator Terry Link (D-Indian Creek) that passed the Senate this week.

“Incidents across the country continue to highlight the importance of two-person crews on freight trains,” Link said. “It is simply a matter of public safety. Two-person crews can react more efficiently to mechanical failures or equipment malfunctions and can potentially save lives in a serious situation.”

Link’s measure – contained in Senate Bill 24 – requires freight trains to be operated by a crew of at least two individuals until a federal rule or law is adopted that addresses how many crew members should operate a freight train.

If passed and signed into law, Illinois would join Wisconsin, California and Arizona in enacting some form of train crew requirement.

“We feel this is a commonsense measure until there is a federal law put in place,” said Bob Guy, SMART TD Legislative Director for Illinois. “Trains break down on a daily basis. A minor issue can bring a train to a halt. What happens when that is in the middle of a community?”

Senate Bill 24 passed the Senate on Thursday on a 35-19 vote. Rep. Jay Hoffman (D-Swansea) will be sponsoring the proposal in the Illinois House.

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