Amtrak Trains Fight to Go First

May 24, 2016

By Laura Stevens and Andrew Tangel, The Wall Street Journal

Which train should go first—an Amtrak passenger train or a cargo train? That’s the question federal regulators are trying to resolve.Website Insert Gathering of Professionals 1 copy

For more than 40 years, Amtrak says it has had the right to go first under law, meaning freight railroads have to pull over their trains whenever possible to let a passenger train pass or hold their trains in station to prioritize an Amtrak departure, except in emergencies.

Freight railroads want that to change, but Amtrak, whose long-haul national trains are chronically late, is fighting it.

“Amtrak’s not being rigid here or inflexible,” D.J. Stadtler, chief operating officer for the national passenger railroad said. “In order for the network to work for the passengers, we’ve got to have a reliable and repeatable schedule that we’re held to.”

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