May 6, 2023 - TRA Newswire -
An April 26th Opinion Column in the Houston Chronicle intimated that because some signs say "locomotive cabs may be unoccupied" they pose a danger when Union Pacific trains are moved from one nearby yard to another in the city. The newspaper article immediately raised concern from citizens and officials.
Union Pacific has countered with the assurance that there are no "crewless trains" in UP's fleet and the claim "is simply not true". Remote controlled trains, run by qualified engineers on the ground, have been operating at low speeds in rail years for 20 years.
"The technology has garnered widespread acceptance within the railroad industry and is as safe or safer than conventional operations, with the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) recently saying they had no specific concerns about its use", according to Union Pacific in a news release. Several Texas Rail Advocates board members observed the operation of a low-speed remote-controlled locomotive several years ago during a UP employee family appreciation day in Fort Worth and found the process to be quite impressive. Remote-control is used at other Texas facilities including the SoSan Yard in San Antonio.