New York state transportation officials would be required to develop rules for the installation of heat safety gauges on rail tracks that carry freight trains under legislation being advanced in the Democratic-led state Senate on Tuesday. 

The proposal was among a package of measures meant to address train safety in New York after the derailment this year of a train in Ohio that led to the spilling of hazardous materials. 

“Railroads are a vital component of our infrastructure and play a crucial role in facilitating the transportation of essential goods for our economy. The Senate Democratic Majority is taking significant steps by enacting common sense legislation to enhance rail safety and safeguard communities near rail tracks, which often bear the brunt of rail disasters," said Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins. “We must not wait for a train derailment like Norfolk Southern’s in East Palestine to occur before we take action to help prevent them from happening in New York."

Lawmakers also are backing legislation to limit the length of rail trains, require freight trains to be operated by at least two people and require comprehensive inspections along with quarterly inspection reports. 

A task force on freight rail safety was approved, as was a requirement that railroad companies inform state officials when they are transporting hazardous materials within New York.

New York's $229 billion budget approved this month included $800,000 in additional funding for 10 state railroad inspectors, reaching $1.75 million. 

“Our nation relies on an efficient and well-run transportation network to maintain our supply chains and keep costs in check, but it cannot come at the expense of the health and safety of New Yorkers," said state Sen. Tim Kennedy, the chairman of the Transportation Committee in the chamber. "As we witnessed devastation unfold in East Palestine, Ohio, we took a hard look at New York's existing standards of operation and identified real opportunities for reform."