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Federal rules due to become final before the end of 2009 will require freight, passenger and commuter rail operator to install safety systems along their tracks that automatically slow or shut down trains when they get too close to each other. The systems, known as positive train control, are particularly effective at preventing moving trains from crashing into trains stopped or traveling on tracks ahead.

While a positive train control system did apparently fail with tragic results outside of Washington, DC, earlier this year, rail operators across the country initially appeared willing to put the systems in place when the U.S. Federal Railroad Administration drafted rules to require positive train control. Now, as reported by the Wall Street Journal, Amtrak, Burlington Northern and Santa Fe and the American Public Transportation Association, which represents subway and light rail networks, say making the safety upgrades will cost too much.

Twenty-year installation, testing and maintenance cost estimates for positive train control systems range as high as $24 billion. That’s a lot of money. But what price could be placed on the lives the safety systems will undoubtedly save? Or on the pain, disabilities and loss of work and wages people not injured in railroad accidents will not have to suffer?

My colleagues and I specialize in representing people injured while working or traveling on trains. We have seen too often how lives are shattered or lost in accidents that could have been prevented. Rail operators should comply with federal requirements for putting positive train control system in place despite temporary reductions in profits.

About the Editors: Shapiro, Cooper Lewis & Appleton is a law firm which focuses on injury and accident law, and we have experience handling FELA and general railroad injury cases. Check out our case results to see for yourself. Our primary office is in Virginia Beach, Virginia (VA), but our lawyers also hold licenses in NC, SC, WV, KY and DC and have handled hundreds of railroad injury and FELA cases. We would like to send you one of our FREE reports about railroad injury and FELA cases, including The Dos and Don’ts When Injured at a Railroad–The Railroad Workers FELA Rights and What Railroad Claim Agents Won’t Tell You (But You Must Know). We are ready to talk to you by phone right now. We provide free initial confidential injury case consultations, so call us toll free at 1-800-752-0042. Our injury attorneys also host an extensive injury law video library on Youtube. Further, our lawyers proudly edit the Virginia Beach Injuryboard and Norfolk Injuryboard as pro bono public information services.


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