Passenger Equipment Safety Standards; Standards for Alternative Compliance and High-Speed Trainsets
This final rule amends FRA's passenger equipment safety standards using a performance-based approach to adopt new and modified requirements governing the construction of conventional- and high-speed passenger rail equipment. This final rule adds a new tier of passenger equipment safety standards (Tier III) to facilitate the safe implementation of nation-wide, interoperable high-speed passenger rail service at speeds up to 220 mph. While Tier III trainsets must operate in an exclusive right-of-way without grade crossings at speeds above 125 mph, these trainsets can share the right-of-way with freight trains and other tiers of passenger equipment at speeds not exceeding 125 mph. This final rule also establishes crashworthiness and occupant protection performance requirements in the alternative to those currently specified for Tier I passenger trainsets. Together, the Tier III requirements and Tier I alternative crashworthiness and occupant protection requirements remove regulatory barriers and enable use of new technological designs, allowing a more open U.S. rail market. Additionally, the final rule increases from 150 mph to 160 mph the maximum speed for passenger equipment that complies with FRA's Tier II requirements.