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FRA proposes safety standard updates allowing high-speed trains in the U.S.

22 November 2016  •  Author: Katie Sadler, Digital Content Producer, European Railway Review

The U.S. Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has announced proposals for safety standard updates that will aid the introduction of high-speed trains.

FRA proposes safety standard updates allowing high-speed trains in the U.S.

The FRA has proposed updates for passenger train safety standards with a view to introduce high-speed trains that can travel up to 220 miles per hour and replace its ageing passenger fleet.

“As several regions of the United States build faster passenger rail service, the trains on those tracks must keep passengers safe,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “To do that, we want to allow manufacturers to innovate and achieve all-new levels of safety. These proposed changes put us on track to do just that.”

Updates to establish a new category of passenger equipment on high-speed trains

According to the FRA, the proposed updates would establish a new category of passenger equipment, Tier III, for trains travelling up to 220 mph. The updates would offer an alternative method for evaluating how well passengers and crews are protected in an accident, often called crashworthiness. The FRA has called on the public and stakeholders to provide feedback and comment on the proposed rule.

“We look forward to hearing from everyone on how this proposal can help our country build a stronger passenger rail network – one that is not only faster but allows for new technologies to make passenger trains even safer,” said FRA Administrator Sarah E. Feinberg.

Although Tier III trains will be required to have exclusive track to operate at speeds above 125 mph, the new standards will allow Tier III trains to safely share track with current Tier I and Tier II commuter, intercity and Acela trains. Compatibility between equipment types is a key strategy to allow trains to share existing corridors to reach downtown stations, said the FRA.

The proposed FRA updates can be found here

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