Amtrak Seeks To Escape FRA's Terrible Safety Rules

A blog about business and economics.
Jan. 2 2013 2:34 PM

Amtrak Seeks To Escape FRA's Terrible Safety Rules

Here's some random good news of the day—Amtrak is going to push to get the Federal Rail Administration to change the safety regulations that force its passenger trains to be much heavier than the ones used in Europe and Japan. Europe and Japan being, as you may have noticed, places where know a thing or two about how to operate passenger trains.

Relief from this rules has three kinds of advantages. One is that lighter trains use less fuel and thus are cheaper to operate. A second is that lighter trains can accelerate faster, making trips shorter. Last but by no means least, the United States just isn't that big a market for rolling stock. By comforming more closely to global standards for what passenger trains should be like, we may be able to do better in terms of contract bidding.

Matthew Yglesias is the executive editor of Vox and author of The Rent Is Too Damn High.

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