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New Standards for US Passenger Trains

November 23, 2016

New, proposed safetys standards for U.S. passenger trains were unveiled this week. The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) released a proposed rulemaking that lays out clear safety standards for high-speed trains and updated safety standards for conventional passenger trains.

The proposed rulemaking establishes a new category of passenger equipment, Tier III, for trains traveling up to 220 mph. High-speed trains require special regulatory attention because the equipment needs to be light enough to run efficiently at high-speeds and sturdy enough to keep passengers safe. The proposed rulemaking provides clarity for rail manufacturers who want to build high-speed train sets in the U.S.

The Tier III standards state that trains can travel up to 220 mph on separated right of ways with no grade crossings, and up to 125 mph on shared tracks.

The proposed rulemaking also includes alternate crashworthiness standards for Tier I trains. Tier I safety guidelines are for trains traveling up to 125 mph. The alternate standards would allow for the use of existing safety technology that have been proven on rail systems around the world. This would allow manufacturers to use crash energy management technology instead of relying on the current strength standards that exist.

These proposed passenger equipment standards are a key piece of the federal rules needed to modernize our nation's existing rolling stock and implement high-speed rail in the U.S.

Next Week at MHSRA:

We are participating in Giving Tuesday or as we call it, Trainsgiving, on November 29. This is a day dedicated to giving and doing good for others. Please consider making a donation and joining our growing community of advocates pushing for fast, frequent and dependable trains throughout the Midwest.

Articles We Enjoyed:

The Feds Finally Make Safety Rules for High Speed Rail
“The Federal Railroad Administration is releasing new draft regulations that could make it a lot easier to build the speedier transport option right here in the US of A. They lay out clear safety standards for the trains, the product of 10 years of back-and-forth with industry.”

Amtrak CEO on New Trains, Trump’s Promises on Infrastructure
"The railroad company, which received a $2.45 billion federal loan so they could invest in such advances, knows the challenges they face in providing faster trains for customers. Moorman said as infrastructure is upgraded, trains will become faster and faster."

Amtrak Delivers Strong FY 2016 Financial Results
“The increased ticket revenue was fueled by a record 31.3 million passengers on America’s Railroad® – nearly 400,000 more than the previous year. This is the sixth consecutive year Amtrak has carried more than 30 million customers."

Moline Expects Passenger Rail to be Rolling by Early 2018
"Passenger rail is on track to return to the Quad Cities by early 2018. That's the word from Moline officials, who learned that final track work should begin in January 2017. That work includes $177 million in federal funding that's waiting for state release.”

Upcoming Events:

2017 MHSRA Annual Meeting

When: Saturday April 1, 2017 - 9:00am to 3:00pm (Check in will start at 8:30am)

Where: Maggiano's Little Italy, 516 N. Clark St., Chicago, IL 60654

Cost: Single Ticket: $60.00
    Student Ticket: $20.00
    *Cost includes lunch

Register Here

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