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Train Safety Fixed Forever: Miles-Long Freight Trains Now Require 2 Whole Crew Members

Photo: David Ryder (Getty Images)
Photo: David Ryder (Getty Images)

Freight railroads are using something called Precession Scheduling to run longer trains with fewer crewmembers in order to maximize profits. To hopefully curb potential accidents, the Biden Administration mandated Tuesday a bare minimumthat at least two people be aboard sometimes miles-long freight trains. Some trains, however, will get a pass even on this bare bones basic safety requirement.

Dangerous derailments, especially the toxic chemical spill in East Palestine, Ohio, prompted public scrutiny, but progress on new legislation has moved at a glacial pace. This new rule is the first proposed since 2022. In a statement from the Federal Railroad Administration, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said: