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Railroads Promise New New Braking Systems on Freight Trains

February 23, 1996

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Freight railroad officials agreed Thursday to speed up the installation of special braking systems in response to recent train accidents, Federal Railroad Administrator Jolene Molitoris said.

Senior operating officers of America’s largest rail carriers said in a meeting with government officials that would install two-way, end-of-train braking devices on all trains by mid-1997.

``These are the systems that enable an engineer to exert braking action from the rear of the train,″ Molitoris said. ``It greatly reduces the likelihood of brake failure that could lead to a runaway train.″

She said the railroads agreed to install these braking devices on all trains operating in mountainous terrain by Dec. 15 _ more than a year earlier than required by federal law.

In addition, they committed to install the devices on all other trains by June 30, 1997 _ something not required by federal law, she said.

Braking problems are being investigated as a possible cause of a Feb. 1 freight train accident in the Cajon Pass region of southern California, said John Fitzpatrick, an administration spokesman. That accident prompted the administration to insist on the use of these braking devices on trains traveling though that mountain pass.

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