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Amtrak Considers Adding Buses to Train Lines Not Meeting Safety Standards

TravelPulse logo TravelPulse 9/14/2018 Donald Wood
A moving Amtrak passenger train pulling into a station. (photo via shanetrue / iStock Editorial / Getty Images Plus) © Getty Images A moving Amtrak passenger train pulling into a station. (photo via shanetrue / iStock Editorial / Getty Images Plus)

Amtrak officials revealed the company is considering substituting buses for trains on its lines that do not meet government safety guidelines by the provided deadlines.

According to, Amtrak is working with local governments to secure the funding for the safety technology improvements, but several states with large rural areas served by the rail company said the transition to buses would be “devastating to their communities.”

The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee said Thursday that its January 1 deadline to install the positive train control safety system likely won’t be met by several railroad companies.

Amtrak executive vice president Scot Naparstek pitched the substitution of buses for trains as the safety measures are implemented, but lawmakers from Kansas, Colorado and New Mexico are standing against the idea.

“Replacing rail service with bus service for the nearly 11-hour bus ride from Dodge City to Albuquerque would disrupt service for passengers, increase barriers to travel and hobble local economies,” New Mexico Senator Thomas Udall told Bloomberg. “On top of that, trading trains for buses is less safe and reduces ridership.”

Naparstek remained adamant that Amtrak is working to ensure all of its services are safety compliant by the government-mandated deadline. Other rail companies, such as BNSF, revealed they have already installed the technology on all 11,500 miles of specified track.

Amtrak has come under heavy scrutiny after one of the company’s trains derailed on a route in Washington State that wasn’t equipped with positive train control, killing three people. Investigators said the safety technology would have helped avoid the accident.

Related video: Amtrak Service To Return To Penn Station (Provided by CBS New York)



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