Dianne Feinstein’s husband owns part of the railroad industry. How does that connection affect rail road safety issues?

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Dianne Feinstein’s husband owns part of the railroad industry. How does that connection affect rail road safety issues?

feinstein Dianne Feinstein’s husband owns part of the railroad industry. How does that connection affect rail road safety issues.

  • Do politicians stop train safety projects for political reasons, 60 Minutes says they do on their most recent episode.
  • Dianne Feinstein arranged funding for Solyndra and Tesla. Her husband got the adjacent railroad property and construction contracts.
  • She got funding for the new California train. His company got to build it.
  • Over 40 suspicious conflicts of interest. Now, other suppliers are speaking out.
  • A horrible series of train accidents gets people talking:

Richard Blum drags Dianne Feinstein to her next kick-back scheme

A Message from President and CEO Joe Boardman Regarding Restoration of Service on the Northeast Corridor “At Amtrak, the safety of our passengers and crew remains our number one priority. Since the tragic derailment, Amtrak staff and crew have been working around the clock to repair the infrastructure necessary to restore service for all the passengers who travel along the Northeast Corridor. Our repairs have been made with the utmost care and emphasis on safety, including complete compliance with Federal Railroad Administration directives. Effective with departures from Philadelphia at 5:53 a.m. (Train 110) and New York City at 5:30 a.m. (Train 111) on Monday, May 18, Amtrak will restore normal service on the Northeast Corridor. Although service along the Northeast Corridor will begin again tomorrow, the derailment of Northeast Regional Train 188 is a tragedy that we at Amtrak will continue to mourn and are dedicated to learning from. Thank you for your support of America’s Railroad. Sincerely, Joe Boardman, President and Chief Executive Officer —————————————————

Insular U.S. Rail Industry Impedes Innovative Outsiders By Robert J. Ahern –   Small, innovative companies in the U.S. are coming up with answers to some of the most pressing and persistent problems on America’s railways. But they’re being stonewalled at every turn by a hidebound, insular rail industry. Rail travel, for both freight and passengers, is safer now than it has ever been. Yet the industry has been unable — or unwilling — to fix some issues. Failure of wheel bearings is one of them. Another is the accidental uncoupling of cars. In both of these cases, smart, independent companies have devised solutions only to be rebuffed by a railroad industry that is protective of its own suppliers and hostile to ideas that come from outside its closed culture. This behavior puts lives and freight at unnecessary risk. After years of being frustrated by the rail industry at every turn, companies with new ideas have little choice but to turn to the federal government. Legislation is pending in Congress that would require the Federal Railroad Administration — the government agency that oversees the rail industry — to adopt and enforce mandatory safety standards that would ensure bearing failures, decoupling and other accidents do not happen. This would permit railroads to use any technology, from inside or outside the industry, that meets the standards. Why is this needed? Consider the case of Columbus Castings, of Columbus, Ohio. In 2008, the railroad industry, acknowledging that trains still accidentally uncouple, set a standard that any manufacturer must meet if it designed a device that would fix the problem. Columbus Castings invented the Z-Knuckle, which prevents uncoupling. It met the industry’s new standard. But in a strange twist, the industry refused to back the Z-Knuckle’s use because it was the only device that met the standard. Instead, it simply chose not to enforce the standard. Never mind that Columbus Castings is the country’s largest steel foundry and a maker of steel for many uses. Several companies, including Amsted Rail, Standard Truck Car, National Railway Equipment and A. Stucki Co., have created advanced trucks — the framework that holds a rail car’s four wheels — that are less likely to derail and use less energy, due to enhanced suspension. But these have been rejected by the railroad industry as well. Likewise, the industry has shunned electronically controlled pneumatic braking systems that not only stop a train in a much shorter distance in an emergency, but give the engineer constant, real-time feedback on the train’s braking system. Stage 8 Locking Fasteners of San Rafael, Calif., also a railroad industry outsider, has come up with an inexpensive solution that would virtually eliminate bearing-failure derailments. And, as with Columbus Castings, the railroad industry has stood in the way of safety and technology improvements. Failure of wheel bearings — the round, metal rods inside a rail car’s wheel assembly that help the wheels roll smoothly — are the nation’s third-largest cause of train derailments, according to a 2012 University of Illinois study. Only broken rails and track irregularities cause more accidents annually. Bearing failure typically leads to derailments. In the worst cases, derailments can cause injury, community disruption and death. These derailments happen because the screws holding the bearing end caps (which maintain proper tension in the bearing) vibrate loose after thousands of miles of service. The rail industry has tried for half a century to devise a reliable screw-locking technology of its own, but has not been able to do so. The best system the rail industry has been able to come up with allows a failure rate of 23 percent. That isn’t good enough. A better system was devised in 2009. Stage 8 invented the Cap Screw Locking System, which keeps rail or tank car wheel bearing end-cap screws from vibrating loose. But as soon as the invention was unveiled, the rail industry bureaucracy withheld approval of the product. The rail industry then demanded a field test for the Stage 8 device. After 150,000 miles of testing on the industry’s own cars, the locking device showed no failures at all. And yet, the FRA and the Association of American Railroads continues to withhold approval. So, who’s really running our railroads? It’s time for Congress to step in. Robert J. Ahern is director and executive vice president of Stage 8 Locking Fasteners Inc. Read more: http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2014/09/13/insular_us_rail_indus try_impedes_innovative_outsiders_123912.html#ixzz3aSkfyA2I Follow us: @RCP_Articles on Twitter

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