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Report to the House and Senate Appropriations Committees: the safety of push-pull and multiple-unit locomotive passenger rail operations
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    This report contains the results of a study by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) on the safety of push-pull and multiple-unit (MU) locomotive passenger rail operations. The report addresses the following two questions: (1) Based on recent accidents, is there any difference in the likelihood of derailment resulting from a highway-rail grade crossing collision between a conventional locomotive-led train and a cab car- or MU locomotive-led train (2) Assuming that a collision or derailment occurs, is there any difference in the severity of accident consequences between a conventional locomotive-led train and a car car- or MU locomotive-led train. No statistically significant difference was found among the derailment histories for the modes of operation. The accident record did show a higher fatality rate for occupants of cab car-led trains than occupants of conventional locomotive-led trains in commuter service. Yet, MU locomotive-led trains compiled a superior safety record and experienced a fatality rate less than conventional locomotive-led trains or any competing mode of transportation. The report explains that passenger rail safety is achieved through prevention, mitigation, and response. The report details actions by FRA and passenger railroads to reduce the risk to passengers and crewmembers. The actions include wider deployment of positive train control systems, improvements in highway-rail grade crossing safety, advances in passenger equipment crashworthiness, the introduction of crash energy management features, and better emergency preparedness.

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