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Philly NRHS - Railfan Pictures of the Week


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The Philadelphia Chapter of the

National Railway Historical Society

Established in 1936


Railfan Pictures of the Week - 07/12/2005

CSX Lansdale Yard Lansdale PA July 2005

In 1981 the Volpe National Transportation Systems Center conducted research regarding the use of reflectors on freight equipment to help avoid RIT (running into train) collisions through increased visibility at grade crossings, particularly at night. Although preliminary testing of reflectors proved promising, the technology and materials of the time did not fare well in the harsh environment of railroading, and the issue was tabled. The study was resurrected in the early 1990's and advances in the manufacture of the reflectors had improved enough to proceed with further testing as mandated in the Swift Rail Development Act of 1994. In December of 1999, the United States Department of Transportation and the Federal Railroad Administration published docket FRA-1999-6689 in the Federal Register to allow the affected parties to comment on the proposed regulations. After years of review, on November 6 2003 the FRA published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), the final rule on "Reflectorization of Rail Freight Rolling Stock" was issued on January 3 2005, and after sixty days would have gone into effect on March 4 2005. However, May of 2005 an indefinite "Stay of Effectiveness" was issued pending a response to three petitions for reconsideration (from the AAR, TTX Corporation and 3M Corporation).

For more information, you can search the Department of Transportation website for filings related to docket FRA-1999-6689.

In the meantime, reflectors have started showing up on more and more cars and engines such as this CSX mother-slug set of 6437 and 2223.

A number of freight cars have had reflectors on them for years, but not all use the guidelines as specified in the proposed regulations. TILX 281407 has yellow vertical stripes.
TMIX 200025 has red and white reflectors midway up the tank.
Some like TTZX 856390 have had them installed for years but the three barely visible white reflectors, one on each end and one in the center, are clearly not enough for this length car.
This WLO boxcar has more but smaller white reflectors running the length of the bottom sill.


All pictures July 8 2005 Copyright © 2005 John P. Almeida

Photographs for personal use only. All rights reserved by original owner of image. Reproduction or redistribution in any form without express written permission is prohibited.

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Website created June 12, 2002

Last Updated July 12, 2005