Senator Durbin Takes on Train Delays With New Bill
November 21, 2019
It's a problem every American train passenger knows all too well: being stuck on a train while watching a freight train slowly crawl by outside your window. This type of freight train interference causes delays for millions of riders who rely on the Amtrak system. In 2018 alone, Amtrak trains were delayed by freight trains on host railroads more than 100,000 times! It's not just an inconvenience -- if unchecked, it will drive away passengers and threaten the very existence of the National Network.
Today, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) is taking this problem head-on. The Rail Passenger Fairness Act will help improve Amtrak on-time performance (OTP) across the National Network by providing Amtrak with the ability to challenge freight railroads in court.
Importantly, this does not create a NEW right -- it merely gives Amtrak a way to enforce the current law, which ALREADY requires freight railroads to provide preference to passenger rail operating on their rail lines.
“This bill provides Amtrak with the power to improve its passenger rail service and efficiency,” said Senator Durbin. “By empowering Amtrak to hold the freight railroads accountable when they don’t follow the law, we can improve Amtrak on-time performance and save taxpayer dollars. For too long, we’ve seen on-time performance decline as a result of freight interference. The people of Illinois – and Amtrak riders nationwide – deserve assurance that they can arrive at their destination in a safe and timely manner.”
Rail Passengers promises to support this bill as it moves its way through Congress. Follow us for opportunities to support on-time trains as they happen!
"The National Association of Railroad Passengers has done yeoman work over the years and in fact if it weren’t for NARP, I'd be surprised if Amtrak were still in possession of as a large a network as they have. So they've done good work, they're very good on the factual case."
Robert Gallamore, Director of Transportation Center at Northwestern University and former Federal Railroad Administration official, Director of Transportation Center at Northwestern University
November 17, 2005, on The Leonard Lopate Show (with guest host Chris Bannon), WNYC New York.