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STB's Pending Passenger Rail Proposals

March 02, 2016

Two recent Surface Transportation Board proposals, with far-reaching consequences, are being reviewed at this time. The proposals introduce a revised definition to passenger train on-time performance (OTP) and ‘preference’ over freight trains.

The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that provides a new definition of on-time performance is important to Amtrak's service because they have the right to file a complaint against the track owner if their OTP falls below 80%. The new definition would have only used the final destination to calculate OTP but with an overwhelming response from passenger rail advocates we are hopeful that the STB will revise the rule to incorporate intermediate stops.

The Proposed Policy Statement (PPS) that seeks to redefine ‘preference’ is still hanging in the balance. If approved this policy could effectively remove passenger trains preference over freight trains. This could reverse the federal law we have had since 1973 and deal a blow to OTP and the quality of passenger rail service throughout the country.

We are very concerned about the consequences of this proposed policy statement because it would impact all of Amtrak's Midwestern routes.

Passenger rail advocates have voiced their opinions loudly during the public comment period. The Environmental Law & Policy Center submitted a detailed response with the support of MHSRA and four other organizations. We are also very glad that Senator Durbin (IL) urged the STB to follow the federal law requiring Amtrak trains to receive preference over freight traffic.


Dylan Hayward
Manager of Communications

Last Week at MHSRA:

MHSRA's CrossRail Chicago proposal has been featured in a number of news reports in the past few weeks. We are excited that CrossRail is gaining momentum and look forward to continuing our efforts to educate the public about its potential.

Articles We Enjoyed:

Parsons Brinckerhoff Picked to ID Potential Routes for O’Hare Express Train
"Engineering and design giant Parsons Brinckerhoff was chosen Thursday to identify potential routes for high-speed rail service between downtown and O’Hare Airport."

Our View: Train to Duluth: ‘When, not if’
"the folks who have been pushing for nearly a decade to revive passenger rail service between the Twin Ports and Twin Cities remain hard at it"

Toddler Junkie Immediately Hooked on Looking at Trains After First Exhilarating High
“After experiencing the intoxicating, extreme high of watching a 56-car freight train pass before his eyes last week, 3-year-old junkie Logan Gunter reportedly became instantly hooked on looking at rail transport”

Cummings Presses Amtrak on Penn Station Redevelopment
"Baltimore, MD -- Amtrak has received information from nine firms interested in serving as master developer for redeveloping Penn Station and its land around the station, including this parking lot."

Critics Say the O’Hare Express Train Plain Sucks. CrossRail could Improve it.
"The O'Hare express engineering team will study CrossRail as part of their planning process, according to aviation department spokesman Owen Kilmer…Connecting the airport to the southeast side could broaden the project's appeal.”

Upcoming Events:

2016 Annual Spring Meeting

When: Saturday April 2, 2016 - 9:00am to 2:00pm. 
Check in will start at 8:15am.

Where: IBEW Local 134
600 W. Washington Blvd.
 Chicago, IL 60661

Cost: Single Ticket $40.00
 Student Ticket: $20.00  
*Cost includes lunch

Click Here to Register

Japan High-Speed Rail Tour

We are planning the tour for October of 2016. This trip will give everyone an opportunity to enjoy the rich history of train travel the country offers. We are creating an itinerary that includes riding the first high-speed rail line, visiting at least one railroad museum and meetings with experts in the field. We have already begun making contacts to arrange technical visits and train tours. Once we have received 10 fully-refundable deposits we will finalize the details of the trip.

Please click here if you would like to learn more about the trip

Dylan Hayward
Midwest High Speed Rail Association
4765 N. Lincoln Ave.
Chicago, IL 60625