April 24, 2017 10:40 AM, EDT

Executives, Lawmakers to Explore Rail Safety Systems at April 26 Hearing

Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg News

Improving how freight travels via rail nationwide will be the dominant theme of a House subcommittee hearing on April 26.

The demand for freight is projected to increase exponentially in the coming decades, and stakeholders have stressed a commitment to ensure rail systems operate safely.

Congress required the industry to install positive train control (PTC) systems on certain lines, after a deadly crash in the Chatsworth district of Los Angeles. The technology assists in the automatic stopping or slowing down of a train to avoid crashes. The industry has until Dec. 31, 2018, to implement PTC technologies.

Federal regulators also have issued regulations designed to address concerns with the movement of crude oil by train, after recent high-profile crashes in North Dakota, Alabama, Virginia and Quebec.

“The safety and efficient movement of people and goods is the top priority for Congress and all transportation stakeholders,” according to background the House Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials Subcommittee provided.

Scheduled to testify before the committee are Roger Nober, chief legal officer at BNSF Railway Co., Linda Darr, president of the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association, and Robin Rorick, group director of midstream and industry operations at the American Petroleum Institute.

BNSF Railway Co. controls more than 25% of the $73 billion market for rail service.

The hearing starts at 10 a.m.