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November 23, 2016

US FRA proposes new draft regulations for high-speed rail

The US Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has proposed new draft regulations for passenger train safety standards in the country to make it easier to build faster transport options.

The US Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has proposed new draft regulations for passenger train safety standards in the country to make it easier to build faster transport options. 

The US is planning to add high-speed trains with the capacity to travel up to 220mph, and replace its ageing passenger fleet.

US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said: “As several regions of the US build faster passenger rail service, the trains on those tracks must keep passengers safe.

“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.”

"As several regions of the US build faster passenger rail service, the trains on those tracks must keep passengers safe."

The proposed draft regulations will establish a new category of passenger transportation called Tier III for trains travelling up to 220mph.  

Updates will serve as an alternative method to assess the way passengers and crews are protected in an accident, also known as 'crashworthiness'.

The FRA has opened the next 60 days for feedback on the rule from the public, railroad industry, workers, manufacturers and other stakeholders.

Based on the changes, a train’s crashworthiness can be evaluated on how it is in meeting an equivalent level of safety.

FRA administrator Sarah Feinberg said “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.”

Tier III trains will be required to have an exclusive track to operate at speeds above 125mph, although the new standards will also allow them to use the same tracks as existing Tier I and Tier II commuter lines safely at lower speeds.

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