FRA Updates Proposed High-Speed Passenger Train Equipment Crashworthiness Standards

The Federal Railroad Administration this week issued an update on its proposed safety standards for high-speed passenger trains.

FRAThe regulations have been the subject of nearly 10 years of work by the agency’s passenger-rail division.

The FRA is expected to establish a new category of passenger equipment — Tier III — for trains traveling up to 220 mph.

The updated standards would offer an alternative method for evaluating how well passengers and crews are protected in an accident, often called crashworthiness.

The public, railroad industry, railroad labor, manufacturers and other stakeholders will have an opportunity to provide feedback and comment on the proposed rule during the next 60 days.

Under the proposed rules, crashworthiness would be evaluated based on equipment meeting an equivalent level of safety achieved through crash energy management technology or other innovative engineering methods.

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, FRA officials said in a news release.

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