Congress Hustling To Pass Rail Reform After Crash

LOS ANGELES — In the wake of this month’s fatal train collision near Los Angeles, Congress is hurrying to pass the rail industry’s first major reforms in 14 years.

The legislation would limit the hours engineers work and mandate the use of technology that can stop trains on a collision course, among other things.

More than two-dozen people died when a Los Angeles commuter train collided with a freight train. It was the nation’s deadliest train accident since 1993.

The National Transportation Safety Board has been pushing the reforms for years. A former NTSB director says rail tragedies are often what it takes to get laws passed. In his words, “If you don’t have enough people dead, not much gets done.”

The House and Senate have both passed versions of a reform bill, the first since the Federal Railroad Safety Authorization Act of 1994. Aides say they’re hoping to resolve differences before Congress takes its election recess later this week.