Rail Companies More Concerned About Profit than Safety | Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp

Rail companies like Norfolk Southern, CSX, and others are showing their true colors in the implementation of new safety rules by the Federal Railroad Administration. These rail companies are complaining the costs of adding innovative safety equipment are just too high and warned the White House it could result in “cuts to service,” according to RT&S.

The new technology the Obama Administration hopes to put into place is “positive train control” systems which allow a train to receive information about its location and where it is allowed to safely travel. This would help decrease unsafe movement.

The American Public Transportation Association estimates the cost would be over $2 billion for commuter-rail agencies to install the equipment in the freight hauling part of the industry to comply with the rules. That’s certainly not a small sum of money, but when you consider Norfolk Southern alone made a third quarter profit of $303 million in 2009, it’s not unreasonable to seek an upgrade in safety standards and equipment.

It’s so obvious what the rail industry is truly concerned about – the bottom line. Never mind the safety of their employees and their customers. Implementing new safety technology that could prevent accidents and save lives just can’t compete with millions of dollars in additional profit.

I hope the Obama Administration sees through the rail company’s complaints and goes forward with the new rules.