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 COVID Pandemic has been and continues to be the biggest challenge faced by Americans as it has taken a deadly toll on the world and on the world’s economies. During COVID Locomotive Engineers at Amtrak and other Passenger and Freight Railroads have embodied the definition of essential workers. This dedication by our members is not new. We applaud the Rail Passenger’s Association for recognizing the vital contributions of our members and their hard work moving Americans and freight during the COVID pandemic."
Dennis Pierce, Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET) National President
December 21, 2021, on the Association awarding its 2021 Golden Spike Award to the Frontline Amtrak Employees.