This post originally appeared on Orphan Road.
Eric McCaughrin from the East Bay Bicycle Coalition puts together a list of ways that antiquated Federal Railroad Administration rules stack the deck against passenger rail in the US. US trains need to be almost absurdly heavy to withstand potential freight crashes. This results in slower, more expensive, harder-to-maintain rolling stock. Trains must also blow their horns loudly at every intersection, raising the ire of nearby residents.
Easing these rules would seem to be something that the FRA could do without congressional approval. I know that some rules, like the horn rule, were actually legislated by Congress, but is there room for interpretation on this or other rules?
I assume the reason that these rules haven’t been changed is that the freight companies and their allies in congress are petrified of the potential lawsuits from collisions. Anyone have any more insights?