Freight Rail Policy Stance: Policymakers should ensure that the passenger rail service on corridors owned by freight railroads is done safely and does not impede freight rail service.
Why This is Important: U.S. freight railroads provide the literal foundation for the overwhelming majority of intercity passenger service in America.
Other than the Northeast Corridor, Amtrak and state-supported route trains primarily operate on tracks owned by freight railroads, as do most commuter railroads.
In addition, most of the higher speed and intercity passenger rail projects under development nationwide plan to use freight-owned facilities.
Host freight railroads follow these principles when considering proposals for commuter or passenger rail service:
- Safety First: Railroads are an extremely safe way to move people and freight, and everyone involved in railroading wants to keep it that way. That is why safety has to come first when it comes to passenger or commuter trains sharing track or rights-of-way with freight trains.
- Access and Capacity: Passenger rail use of freight rail corridors should not compromise freight railroads’ ability to serve present or future customers.
- Full Compensation: Freight railroads should be compensated for the use of their tracks and not be expected to subsidize commuter or passenger railroads.
- No One-Size Fits All Approach: Each project involving passenger rail on freight-owned corridors has unique challenges and circumstances that should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.