Last month, U.S. railroads found themselves in something of a media spotlight after the U.S. Department of Transportation issued its long-awaited rule governing the movement of crude oil by rail. Ten days later, that light intensified after eight passengers were killed and another 200 were injured when an Amtrak train derailed on the Northeast Corridor. The derailment, along with other recent high-profile incidents (some of them CBR related), refocused lawmaker attention on rail safety, particularly on positive train control (PTC) and the timeline for railroads to implement it. At this point, the question isn't whether there will be an extension of the year-end 2015 deadline (there will be), it's how long of an extension Congress will provide, and when the deadline actually will be extended. It won't be anytime soon, if the sentiment I heard recently in D.C. is any indication. As of now, I'm thinking the deadline discussion won't resume until late (very late) in the year. But I'll be talking again with Hill dwellers this summer about railroads, the recent safety-related rules and reactions to same. I'll share what I learn.
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