Mechanical Bulletins for Privately-Owned Rail Cars

Mechanical Documentation

Positive Train Control (PTC) - Information Needed

Amtrak is mandated by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) to implement Positive Train Control (PTC) on its locomotives. As a result, PTC was activated 1/1/16 and requires Amtrak to add data to its reservation system for all private cars: length, height, width, number of axles, weight of each car, maximum speed of each car and brake type for each car. Much of this information has been collected, but additional specifics like weight of the cars are needed. Private car owners will be contacted to complete the required information as these details must be in the reservation system in order to pull private cars on Amtrak trains.

Fueling Private Cars

If a private car requires fueling for a petroleum product (diesel or fuel oil), the Owner/Operator can either use a vendor that meets the Amtrak on-site fueling requirements, or a fuel vendor that is already under contract with Amtrak; however, the private car owner must make their own payment arrangements with the fuel vendor. Amtrak employees are not to fuel private cars.

Amtrak must be provided with notice that fueling will be taking place. This requires information including the planned location for the fuel delivery, the name of the fuel vendor and if not, an Amtrak contracted vendor, a statement that the alternative fuel vendor meets all Amtrak fueling requirements listed in the next paragraphs.

Vendors providing fuel services must take all precautions to prevent any spillage during the transfer of fuel to the private car’s petroleum storage tank. Private cars should only be fueled in an appropriate area with the use of drip pans or track pads, whenever possible. No fueling should take place near any storm drains or open water channels without the use of spill containment equipment. The Private Car Owner/Operator is also responsible for the cleanup of any leak or spill of fuel and appropriate notice, if necessary, to the applicable local, state and federal environmental agencies, with copies provided to Amtrak.

Fuel vendors are required to provide, carry and use the following spill equipment:

  • Suitable fueling containment funnel
  • Five gallon bucket or collection receptacle
  • Oil absorbent materials
  • Compatible delivery equipment, including all fittings and adaptors

The person-in-charge of the private car should be present when the car is being fueled by a vendor to insure that these policies are adhered to.

During the transfer of fuel to the private car, the fuel vendor must check the tank levels prior to fueling, continuously monitor the fuel delivery operation, never top off a tank, and make sure all equipment is in operating order and position the spill collection material around the fill pipe. The fuel vendor shall train their employees on the proper fueling technique for private car petroleum tanks and can use the Amtrak training video "Amtrak's Proper Locomotive Fueling Techniques" as part of this required training.

In the event of a spill, the fuel vendor must immediately cut off fueling, use the spill equipment to contain and absorb the spill, immediately contact the Private Car Owner/Operator and Amtrak personnel on-site and complete the spill clean-up including the disposal of any contaminated soil, ballast or other material by a licensed hazardous waste firm.

Glazing Requirements

The FRA has updated the glazing rules that pertain to passenger cars used in revenue service.

If you operate your Private Car on an Amtrak train and accommodate the Public (not family or personally invited guests) the car is no longer "private transportation" and must meet the requirement of 49 CFR Part 229.3(c)(1). Type I and II glazing are not required if your car is older than 50 years; however, if your car was built after 1945, it must have at least four emergency windows (preferably in a staggered configuration) that have been designed to permit rapid and easy removal from inside a passenger car in an emergency situation.

Type II glazing emergency windows, if installed, must be designed to permit rapid and easy removal from the inside of the car during an emergency situation without requiring the use of a tool or other implement, or you may use a safety glass that can be broken with a tool such as the ones firemen use on an automobile windshield. The tool (and emergency windows) must be clearly marked with instructions provided for its use.

The owner and Amtrak would equally be held responsible for any violations if the FRA were to take any exceptions.