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Reflective Material Rules for Locomotives and Railcars

Monday, January 03, 2005

Reflective materials will be installed on the sides of locomotives and freight rail cars as a safety measure to make trains more visible to motorists at railroad crossings under a Final Rule published by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA).

Nearly one quarter of all highway-rail grade crossing collisions involve motor vehicles running into trains occupying grade crossings. The large size and dark colorization of trains in combination with poor lighting or limited visibility may contribute to motorists having difficulty detecting the train in their path. The reflective material will help reduce the number and severity of this type of accident by giving motorists an additional visual warning of the presence of a train.

The Final Rule on Reflectorization of Rail Freight Rolling Stock requires railroads to install yellow or white reflective materials on locomotives over a 5-year timeframe and on freight rail cars 10-year period. The reflective materials will be installed on all newly constructed locomotives and freight rail cars and on existing ones during periodic maintenance or repair, unless alternate implementation plans have been developed that meet the requisite timetables.

The effective date of the rule is March 4, 2005.

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